When my daughter was young, I would read to her every night before bedtime. She would run to her bookcase and pick the book(s) she wanted read that night. Most nights meant more than one book before she would fall asleep.
I don’t believe there was ever one true favorite…she loved them all…but a few come to my mind. When she was very young, a small book about “Farmer Brown’s Birthday” comes to mind…I read that book over and over and over again. To this day, 25 years later, I remember, “tra la, tra le, lucky me.” coming from that book! ( I was even reading that book in my sleep! I finally hid it for a while!) A sweet book from England was a favorite…”Mogg and Bunny” about a red cat and his bunny toy. “The Christmas Tree Cat” about a red striped cat named Pickles who always got into trouble…she loved this book and name of cat so much that when we adopted a kitten ( she was three years old), she picked a red one and named him Pickles. Two of my favorites to read were “The Giving Tree” about a tree that kept giving everything it had until it was no more(more of a book for adults I realize now) and “The Velveteen Rabbit” about a toy rabbit who became “real” because his boy loved him so much.
One of my cherished possessions is a picture my daughter drew for me when she was in 1st grade. They had to draw a picture of the person they thought was special and why they are special. She wrote, “I think my Mom is special because she reads to me.”
When many of her friends’ parents would play games with their children, I always told my daughter that I didn’t play games. I grew up with my brother’s children, being ten years older than them, and they played games incessantly. I grew to detest playing board games. I would read to my daughter and I would do all kinds of crafts with her…but no games.
When she was 8, my parents needed help and she and I moved over to be with them. That Christmas, I had bought her a small cassette player and several taped books for children…the kind that you would listen to the tape and read the book at the same time. She escaped through those books. And I believe that was the final step in what enabled her to become the reader she is now. I still read her books at night but they were now more of a chapter book variety and my mother would listen to them as well.
In Middle School and High School, her hunger for reading increased and her reading speed as well. The first Harry Potter book was read aloud at night…and from then on, each new book was devoured in record speed…til the last one (I believe it had over 700 pages…) was read in one 7 hour day…she locked herself in her room and only came out when necessary.
She graduated from college with an English Lit and Art degrees and now makes her living writing. I like to think this all started from the simple joy of nightly reading aloud. Never underestimate what a small pleasurable habit as reading aloud at bedtime can accomplish.
Til next time…Eva