Some of my fondest memories as a child involve snuggling up with a good book and reading for hours. I would read everywhere, and any time I could. I loved it so much my parents would have to set a timer and limit my reading so that I would do other things, like my chores, or my homework. When our family went up north to our cottage for a weekend, I would bring a book (or 5,) and sit in the screened-in porch reading for most of the weekend. When I got home from school, I would hide out in my room and read until supper time. Even in college, I would spend a lazy Saturday sprawled out on my twin sized bed in my dorm room, reading.
Reading has always been an enjoyable activity for me – something I looked forward to. But not everyone feels that way. So why do some people spend most of their lives with their nose in a book while others never, ever read? I believe it all comes down to how often a person was read to during their childhood.
My mom used to read to us almost every afternoon when we were small. As soon as we stopped taking naps, that time in the afternoon that used to be dedicated to sleep became filled with books and stories. I looked forward to that time. We read books about everything. Sometimes, my mom picked out a stack of non-fiction books about Christopher Columbus, or the Pilgrims, or slavery, or World War 2, and we would sit and read book after book, and learn so much without even realizing we were learning.
One of my favorite things we read was the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Recently, I started reading them to my four year old son, Liam, and it’s amazing how much he’s come to enjoy reading, too. Every night he begs, “Just one more chapter, Mama, please?” and sometimes I give in, and we stay up past his bedtime. But I’m happy that I can give him the gift of reading, just as my mom gave me when I was small, and I hope that will stay with him his whole life, just as it has for me.
Please consider reading to your children every day. It truly is a lifelong gift.