May 29, 2013

Reading: learning to love it

I didn't read to my boys much over the years.  When they were small, between birth and maybe 3 years of age, my husband and I would read to them.  They had favorite books that they requested be read over and over and over again.  I don't remember when it ended, though.  I remember feeling, "I'm just too tired tonight."  And "I'm just too tired tonight" became a habit, unfortunately.  I regret that.

Some of my favorite memories of my own childhood center around curling up with my mom or dad on the couch while they read my favorite stories to me.  The Poky Little PuppyThe Monster at the End of this BookMother Goose Nursery Rhymes.  And many more whose stories I can picture in my head but no longer remember the titles of.  I believe the time my parents spent reading stories to me as a child helped instill a love of reading in my as I grew up.

So, I'm sad that I didn't spend that kind of time with my own boys.  Now that they are 8 and almost 11, neither of them likes reading.  You'd think we submitted them to some sort of mafia torture, like chopping off fingers or holding their heads under water until they nearly drown whenever we suggest they read a book.

My oldest asked me why in the world I like reading.  I tried to explain how delving into a good book carries my mind off into another world.  It sparks my imagination and makes my brain jump into action.  A really good book can break me of a bad mood and launch my creative spirit.  To me, the feeling is similar to receiving accolades from a person who I love and respect.  I feel good about myself.  Reassured that I can do anything I put my mind to.  Because, after reading a good book, I want to create.  Whether it's writing, or drawing, or photography, or even baking, an engaging story makes me want to show my own creativity and ability to others.  Kind of like paying it forward.

He didn't understand that.  He just said, "But reading is boring!"

Maybe it's too late now.  Maybe my boys will never know the kind of love of reading I know.  It's a gift I neglected to give them.  

Have you helped your kids learn to love reading?  What's your secret?  Share your suggestions in the comments.

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