09:55:06 am on
Sunday 16 Jun 2024

Books Rock
Jennifer Flaten

Valentine's Day was approaching; I asked my little ones what they would like for a gift. The lists were long and varied.

I had to remind them that Valentine's Day is not Christmas; I would give them one small thing, something they really wanted.

Imagine my surprise and happiness when they asked for books. The girls each wanted a book from the Katie Kazoo series. Their brother wanted a book on Spiderman or other super hero. Since he can't read yet, I think he was just succumbing to peer- pressure.

Still it was gratifying to hear them ask for books. At seven and five, my kids are fascinated with books.

They are seriously into reading and I am enjoying this as long as I can. It won't be long before they ditch books for the opposite sex.

Right now, we go to the library each week and check out many books, I mean a lot. Generally, we check out over 20 books each time we visit the library.

In fact, one time I had to actually interact with the librarian (I usually self check out) and she raised her eyebrows at the 51 items that I had on my library card.

My daughters are counting down the days until they are old enough to have the coveted library card. Sometimes, even I am amazed at our level of geekiness. Other kids their age want PS3s my kids want books. Yippeee!!

I know I am lucky to have kids that are interested in reading. Schools spend a lot of time trying to entice kids to read.

Last year, our school tried a reading drive. Each child needed to read 360 minutes each month. If they met that goal for three months, they would win a prize.

I think the prize was tickets to Great America. A pretty cool prize if you ask me.

We entered the program and certainly had no problem reaching the target goal; we just got bored filling out the sheets.

The kids didn't care about the prize. They have never been to Great America, so they didn't know what an awesome prize it was. Since they weren't interested, so I ended up doing all the work.

So after awhile we ditched the chart, doesn't mean we have ditched the reading.

We still read most every night before bed as a group and the girls read after lights out with their tiny flashlights.

We are constantly running out of AA batteries because the kids need them for their flashlights. Do I want them to go to bed on time? Hell, yes I want them to go to bed on time! Do I think it is funny they stay up reading...oh yeah.

I can't tell you how many nights I stay up way past my bedtime reading.

I hope that this will foster in them a life long love of reading. When they come to me complaining they are bored or don't know what to do, I tell them to sit down and read.

When kids first learn to read they are thrilled. They run around reading everything, even the stuff you would prefer they didn't read. Because it leads to all those awkward questions about what does this mean, and what is an ass, etc.

So when and why does it stop?

Why do so many people abandon reading? Sure people read all day everyday, but it is a utilitarian reading. You must read this sign, or you must this document. It is all stuff you must read, not stuff you want to read.

Not enough people read for the sheer joy of reading. It doesn't matter what you read, whether your pleasure is fiction, non-fiction, or historical romance, just read. Heck, even comic books and Manga count as long as you are reading.

Teachers struggle everyday with instilling a love of reading in kids. So many families don't read together every night. I think this is such a crying shame.

It is so cozy to get all together and read a book. Even if we are reading a book that we have read 100 times before.

I wish we could own more books. The books are so expensive. I think of how important it is for a family especially a child to own a book of their own. Something, they can write their name in and read repeatedly.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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