As most elementary school kids knew, Friday was Read Across America Day (also Dr. Seuss’ birthday) and many school kids celebrated it all week. The kids did crazy things like wearing silly socks to school or jamming in their pajamas. There was reading in the hallways, cafeteria, during gym. Some children were asked to bring in their favorite Dr. Seuss book. Indeed, the schools made a big deal of it – justifiably so.
According to the NJEA (National Education Association – www.nea.org) which sponsors this event, “motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers.” They add that “research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.” Cool. How about adding that reading is just plain FUN!
Call me a geek, but there’s nothing I love more than staying in my jammies in bed reading a good book. I love losing myself in story so juicy that time and my surroundings fade into the background. My son reads that intensely – I often have to ask him something two or three times if he’s reading. He’s that into his book. I’d like to think that his love of reading is something his father and I have instilled in him and we’re very proud of that.
I can’t imagine having grown up without the delights offered by Dr. Seuss, Maud Hart Lovelance (the Betsy-Tacy book series), and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Nor could I have foreseen the pleasures of reading the wonderful, silly poetry of Jack Prelutsky to my kids. (Note: parents of small kids – RUN to the library and discover this author! He’s tons of fun to read to kids!) Now that my daughter is reading on her own, I love watching her eyes light up as yet another word on the page becomes magically alive. Outside of the euphoria of hearing your child say “I love you” for the first time, there is nothing like hearing your youngster utter those other magical three words “I can read!” and seeing the unmitigated joy in their eyes when they realize the pleasure of that skill.
In my town, I’m proud that we have the best children’s librarians I’ve ever met. Miss Linda, Miss Amanda, Miss Gina, and Miss Latha as well as Teen librarian Karen deWilde light up when you ask them to recommend a book. They are, as you might expect, PASSIONATE about reading and they’re experts at guiding kids toward books of interest to the wee folk. My son says he’s never been disappointed by a book recommended by Miss Gina. And our library is just an awesome place to hang out while you read – there are lots of comfy chairs and nooks and crannies where you can while aware hours lost in a good book.
Granted, nowadays you’re just as likely to find me flipping through the pages of my Kindle. I’m finding that e-readers are less satisfying than reading physical paper books, but considering the convenience of holding 50 of my favorite books in one light unit, I love my Kindle Fire. And the kids are embracing it as well, with my daughter accessing Raz-Kids (www.raz-kids.com), the online reading program used at school, for some of her desired reading. Add in the fact that there are lots of free books available for e-readers, many through my library, and we’re set for hours of leisurely reading.
Learning about other places, people, and experiences is not only educational but entertaining. While videos are visual exhibitions of how other people interpret stories, books allow you to fine-tune your own internal images. They challenge you to look up the meanings of unfamiliar words. They demonstrate how writers have arranged the millions of words in the English into meaningful patterns which can touch our souls, teach and provide hours of amusement. Because reading IS fun!
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.