Jul 13, 2017
Before I was old enough for school, Mother would pile four or five of us on her lap or at her feet to read a few chapters before nap time, often featuring scripture-related themes. Colorful illustrations would fill the pages for us to view while Mother spoke.
At bedtime, Dad would come home, gather us onto a bed, and proceed to tell us lively renditions of The Three Billy Goat's Gruff, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or Little Red Riding Hood. If we were particularly lucky, he'd make up an adventure of his own. One all-time favorite was the Green-Handed Monster From Piccolo Street. Dad would gesture, change voices, and provide lots and lots of tickling. Then he'd tuck us into bed, kiss us goodnight, and our dreams would continue where his imagination left off.
As we got older, reading became second nature. Mom and Dad had bookcases filled with layers of books in all shapes, sizes and genres. I remember one particular wooden book case with scroll work and doors. I'd spend hours pulling the books out and reorganizing them by shape, name, or color - depending on my mood. When my father passed away, that was the item I requested from his estate.
In their closet, another bookshelf filled with the paperbacks, displayed their favorite titles. Dad had nearly every Louis L'Amour book written. Mother preferred romances, particularly Barbara Cartland stories. As soon as I was old enough to read, I began sneaking into their paperback stash and borrowing a book or two.
Between my library books, and the borrowed books, I was constantly reading. While some children got in trouble for causing mischief, we were scolded for staying up till three or four in the morning reading.
Now that I'm a mother, I work to find new ways to introduce the love of reading to my children. There was no Internet, cellphones, and little TV for me growing up. Now a days, these items seem to be the babysitter, entertainer, teacher, and friends to people of all ages.
My third child is now eight. This year she began reading chapter books and exploring independent reading. This opened new worlds to her, especially this summer when we limited her use of electronics and television.
Now, she's started her own blog, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook Page, and Twitter Account to review each of the books she's read and to give her opinions. I don't know where she gets her ambition from (ahem), but she seems to be thriving. She mentioned to one of the local librarians that she was starting a vlog, and now the person in charge of author spotlights for all the libraries in the county has requested an interview. My sweet little pipsqueak is loving every minute of it.
I don't know if the vlog will continue past the end of summer, but at the very least Courtney is exploring new genres, authors, and books. Plus she gets to wear lots of different outfits when she vlogs!
If I am lucky, she will continue her love of literature into adulthood and beyond. Hopefully she will share that love with others around her, reminding them there is more to this world than smart phones, vines, and Snapchat! And she will understand that with each story she reads, entire worlds will open up to her.
What things have you done to encourage reading and literacy with your children, grandchildren, and young ones? I'd love to know! And if you happen to be a children's author and want Courtney to review your book, drop me a line!