Bookworm, bibliophile, bibliomaniac, avid reader – that’s me. That’s been me since I was four. Inevitably, a life-long love of reading became a love of learning and a love of writing. And like any good read-a-holic, I am in a book club. Two books were chosen for this month. The Reading Promise: Books I Shared with My Father by Alice Ozma and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.
I am generally wary of new books. A book is an investment of time and attention, and I have little of both. So, I put both of our selections on reserve at the library and decided to wait and see which book I would read first. And . . . The Reading Promise it was! A few pages in and I was hooked. Essentially, the gist of the book is something the author, Alice, calls “the Streak.” Alice’s father, an elementary school librarian, reads to her on a regular basis (like any book loving (er, obsessed) parent does.) When Alice is nine they decide to try to read for 100 consecutive nights. Well, they do and in fact they end up reading for 10 straight years, every night, until she goes to college. What’s fascinating about the story is that while they read a ton of great books which most definitely shaped who Alice is today, what their Streak really did was create a habit of a father and daughter spending quality time together.
We don’t get enough of that with our kids. Especially as a single parent, I am dividing my time among three. Even so, it has to happen, and each of my kids just needs a little each day to ensure that they get they need from me. For Jonah, it’s our nightly reading. Always has been. That kid has loved books since he was a toddler, much to my delight. In fact, there were some books that he liked so much that I can still recite them by heart.
I read him his first chapter book when he was five. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Since then we’ve delved into the world of Narnia, giggled over the antics of Ramona Quimby and Junie B. Jones and learned the basic stories of the Bible. So, it only made sense for us to embark on our own Streak. Like Alice Ozma’s, ours has rules. We have to read for at least 20 minutes every night whether by book or e-reader. Our reading has to include a chapter of the Bible (right now we’re plowing through Genesis) and we can only read one book at a time. The last rule is for me. I always read several books at a time, which is fine if you’re 32 but a little confusing for a nearly 7-year-old.
My goal is to give an update every three months as to how we’re doing and what we’re reading. Let me know what you’re reading to your kids too! And in case you’re wondering, I do read to the little girls too. While I doubt they listen to word I say (they’re much too busy pestering, getting into things and generally destroying the house ) But, I’ve already caught them pretending to read, which is good enough for me.