So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what reading means to me or my child. How about both?
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.