I have been told that there are a few ways to make sure your kids are readers. 1. Read to them. 2. Encourage them to read on their own with books that interest them. 3. Let them see you, as a parent, reading on your own.
Ches and I are pretty big readers. I know I have a bit of a reputation for devouring books rather quickly (I’m a very fast reader) and I tend to read anything that is recommended to me. I love books! That’s not a secret.
I decided recently I needed to make a change in our bedtime routine. It’s too chaotic and getting the kids to settle down at bedtime was insane. Lots of yelling and screaming and crying (and that was just me!). I hated it. Ches was gone (as usual) one evening and I had had enough. I decided to try something new. I pulled a book off the bookshelf, had the kids get in their beds (all three boys share a room), and I started to read.
The first book we read was “Holes” by Louis Sachar. I’ve read it before and so has Aiden. We have all seen the movie and really enjoyed it. I couldn’t believe how much all three boys enjoyed not just the book, but having me read to them. They would snuggle into bed and look at me expectantly with smiles on their faces, ready for me to read. Normally it is difficult to get the boys to get in bed. They are playing or watching TV or whatever and just don’t want to go to bed. However, when I said, “Get in bed… I’m going to read ‘Holes’ tonight!” they would run to their room right away. When we finished the book, we borrowed the movie from a friend and had a special “Holes” viewing night.
What to read next? I decided to read something that every kid should probably read. Something that every person should probably read. A classic of literature. And something that I have never read myself. I chose J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.
That’s right. I’ve never read it. Well, all the way through. I’ve tried to read it many times, but something about it… I don’t know. It’s just not my style or something. I’ve started the first Lord of the Rings, too, but again. Never made it far. It just doesn’t capture my attention or something. However, I absolutely love The Lord of the Rings movies, and since the first Hobbit movie comes out in December, I wanted to actually read the book first this time. What could be better than reading an adventure/fantasy book to my little boys?
They. Love. It. That’s right. They adore the story. They laugh. They get scared. They get excited. The Hobbit is a huge success. Also.. I love it! I’m enjoying the story just as much as they are! We’re about 2/3 of the way through and I’m excited to read to them just so I know what’s going to happen next. I can’t believe how much I am enjoying it! Ches teases me every so often for mispronouncing a name (seriously, Bofur? Looks like Bow-fur to me, not Bah-fur!), but I think he enjoys me reading one of his all-time favorite books to his sons, too.
And when I was in the hospital? The boys would not allow Ches to read to them. They just waned Mom. It’s now our thing, our ritual. Mom reads and the boys listen (and sometimes fall asleep) and we discuss a little bit and the entire family is excited for December so we can all see the movie together.
The best part? That calm period, right before bed. Where we are just hanging out. I hope these are memories they will cherish into adulthood. I am cherishing them now.
(And we’re starting to make suggestions to each other on what book we should read next. We have tons of ideas floating around. I’ll let you know what we decide!)