I wish I grew up reading…

It wasn’t too long ago that I became Uncle Mike. My cousin gave birth to a little baby girl, Eleanor. (I know that technically makes me her second cousin, but Second Cousin Mike doesn’t really roll off the tongue.)

It also wasn’t too long ago that a roommate told me he wished he read more growing up. He can’t remember the last time he read a book cover to cover and attributes this shortcoming to the lack of pages he turned as a kid.

Now I’m not a scientist, but it seems to me that if you develop a love of reading when you’re a child, you’ll be more likely to pick up a book in adulthood. And let’s face it, wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone read more? Numerous studies show positive correlations between reading and intelligence, empathy and emotional health. This is just one of many.

So I’d like little Eleanor to grow up reading. And when she actually is able to read, I’d like to give her a basket full of books similar to the one in my childhood room at my parent’s place—only with fewer books about aliens, wizards, knights, and trains. But until then, I’m in the market for some good board books that her parents can read to her.

So please help! What do you read to your children?

5 Responses to I wish I grew up reading…

  1. anonymously obnoxious says:

    Not to be obnoxious, but if your first cousin is the parent, then Eleanor’s technically your first cousin once removed and your children will be Eleanor’s second cousins. :-)

    I have a HUGE family and when I was a kid at a family reunion they thought it was hilarious that I had this all figured out and everyone kept asking me, “Now, who is so and so to me?” because I was all too happy to answer in a very authoritative voice. It took me a while to realize they were having a laugh at my expense, but I didn’t care because I was so smart. Ha!

    Sorry…no board book recommendations.

    Congratulations on the new “niece.”

  2. D. C. DaCosta says:

    My kids enjoyed:
    – Dr. Seuss (ages 3-8)
    – fairy tales from various countries (ages 4-10)
    – “The Good Master” by Kate Seredy (ages 8-11)
    – the Asterix comic books (ages 7-11)
    – Tin Tin (ages 9-11)
    – “The Ghost in the Noonday Sun” (ages 10-12) — a child-friendly clone of “Treasure Island”
    – “Flight to the Mushroom Planet” (ages 6-9)
    – Encyclopedia Brown (ages 6-8)
    – Junie Moon stories (ages 5-8)
    – They also loved the Petit Nicholas stories by Goscinny, but I translated them off the top of my head as I read them. The English translation is very poor.

    All my kids were readers. I think it’s because:
    – dad was never without a book (but did not read at expense of interacting with others!)
    – mom read aloud for 30 minutes most nights and “made voices” for the characters. If you can’t do it with at least a little theatricality, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

    Definitely read the books to yourself before choosing them for the kid. Too many books are just trash, and far too many are not written in such a way as to encourage or profit from reading aloud. The story, the rhythm, the vocabulary must ALL come into play to make a good read aloud book.

    I had one kid who believed she’d never get another story if she learned how to read! Make it clear, when the child is 5 or 6, that once she can read you will NOT stop reading to her — but maybe she can read to you. (One of my best memories is my 8th grader reading “Percy Jackson” to me, one chapter a night, with me in bed and her in the arm chair!)

    Congratulations to your family!

  3. rebecca lacy says:

    My dad was an English and drama teacher when I was growing up, and books were an important part of our family. Since our TV was broken more often than not, we spent a lot of time reading aloud. I loved it! When my daughter was born, I wanted to share that appreciation for books with her, so I started reading to her when she was just a newborn. We continued that routine for years. When she was 10, I took her to see Much Ado About Nothing (still her favorite movie) and then bought the book for her to read. She didn’t quite understand why her friends thought she was odd when she quoted Shakespeare.

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