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Day: November 21, 2007


So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fairly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and other crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nately, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors — espe­cially an old favorite novel, like Part­ners in Neces­sity — is eas­ier, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had another round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and other prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite sev­ere rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provigil, even taken twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­ally sleep­ing like a cat, 14 – 18 or hours a day, just never deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slowly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s never with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I started read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nancy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, other times while just being with her. She talked at an early age, and was very clear. She learned to read quickly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­ated (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­ated Reader pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restric­tions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too — although that’s far less likely, since their par­ents aren’t, really. My brother used to brag that he’d never read any whole book, even those assigned for classes. (I never under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has never read any­thing that wasn’t required. I don’t know their spouses very well, but I’m fairly sure they aren’t recre­ational read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our mother (their Nana), who got me started read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patiently.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cally or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fancy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent reader gives one more of an advan­tage that any other skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolutely any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­tory, cur­rent events, art — you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve given them an incred­i­ble start on life. 

1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever wanted to sit still long.