Saturday, March 15, 2008

Read any good books lately?

I am proud to say that my kids love books. I used to worry that I would somehow fail to pass on my love of reading to them when, as babies, they preferred to sit on or chew books rather than look at them. All the parenting books and the commercials on PBS Kids were telling me that I needed to be reading to my kids for 30 minutes a day. I just hoped that somehow the magic of reading was being absorbed osmotically as they teethed away on Are You My Mother? Yesterday I walked in on the above scenario and was so proud that Emma was passing on her love of reading to the Bitty Twins. Charlie went to sleep reading Go Dog Go the other night. He was lying on his tummy, his footed-jammie feet crossed in the air, holding a flashlight and studying the pages. Scenes like that make my heart melt. I'm sure people who are good at sports probably get that feeling when they see their preschooler throw a ball or make a slam dunk or whatever it is you do in sports. I get that feeling when I see my kids reading. I can't wait for them to decode the mysterious markings on the pages and figure out how all those black lines create whole worlds for them to explore. Then they will really be hooked.

I have to admit, while I love to read, I'm a terrifically slow reader. Since kids have come into my life I am like beyond slow. I think it's because I read like a writer, or maybe more like an English teacher...reading every sentence as though I wrote it, questioning punctuation and tense along the way. I've never been one of those people who can just breeze through a book, put it down and have no idea what happened. I unwrap each sentence like it's a little gift from the author to me. This is great and all, but it is not great for getting through books while kids are fake skateboarding and having princess weddings around you. I generally only get the time to read after kids have gone to bed in the hour or two I have to myself which is also the allotted time slot for watching TV with Brandon, talking to Brandon, cleaning up the most offensive areas of our house, catching up on emails, writing my blog, writing my novel, and staring at a blank wall while no one talks to me or asks me for milk. I am an introvert and I need my staring at a blank wall time or I get cranky.

So, anyway, this is my elaborate, guilty way of telling you that I have barely read any of Atonement. I fully intend to read it, but poor Atonement has been having to wait in line behind my reading of other things, like my writing group buddy Brooke's fabulous manuscript, a book called Letter from Point Clear (which I recommend), and now the latest tool of procrastination has been Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes, which is a very fast (even for me) read about new motherhood. I am reading it ostensibly to get ideas for my own writing, but really I'm reading it because I just love the Mom/chick lit genre. I'm not ashamed to admit it. So, anyway, poor little Ian McEwan has been patiently waiting in line and his turn is coming, but I think I need some kind of a deadline to help me. When should we schedule our little book discussion? Want to say six weeks from now? That would be April 26thish. Sound good?

If you're looking for new books for your kids to read, here's a cool tool from Scholastic...Write in a title of a book that your kids are currently loving and then click on the Bookalike button and it will find similar books at the same reading level. For example I typed in "Thomas the Tank Engine" and here's what it came up with. Pretty neat.


Anonymous said...

I'm one of the "breeze through, put it down, and have no idea what happened" but I do love reading and passing it on. I can't remember my mother ever reading me a book, so there is hope even if parents don't read to their kids.

I also had one of those "Ohhh" moments when I found Brandon (about 5) with Breck (about 2)sitting in his in his big brother's lap reading to him like I tried to do before 4 boys.

I worried my boys wouldn't be readers, because as they grew older I gave them a time in their room when they were to read for their enrichment and my sanity, but it just didn't happen. They would be doing anything but reading. But, as adults they all seem to love to read.

I love reading to my grandkids and making tapes reading to them, and I'm so glad they have parents that love reading and reading to them.

I can't wait to read your first novel, and I love reading your blog.

Elizabeth said...

Brandon is a very fast reader. He always puts me to shame with how fast he can get through a book. So maybe the reading enrichment sessions were actually working, but he was just doing the reading part really quickly and then was on to other things. : ) Thanks for reading my blog and for commenting. We miss you!


Anonymous said...

I just got my copy of Atonement and have just started and I am a very slow reader, too. Partly because when I actually sit down to read (day or night) I fall asleep after about 2 pages. At any rate, 6 weeks' deadline will help me, too. I'm enjoying it so far and have told myself I can see the movie after I'm finished.

I'm proud that my kids love to read and have noticed how happy they are when they finally cross the threshold when they can read to themselves for their own entertainment. Tabitha is at the point where she's reading the signs in the aisles at the grocery store, and is so proud that she can help me locate items. Reading is a magical power at any level. Writing, then, must be a super-power!!


mdm said...

I may be tipping telling hand here, because there are so many poignant points in your post, but... favorite part was the admission that you need time to stare at the wall.

It takes a secure soul to admit that. And I with you...staring at the other side of that wall.

mdm said...

Spent too much time staring. Had I not, I might have caught and corrected the typo in my above comment. "And I'm with you...".

Probably not.