Fangirl Friday: Teaching my son to love reading
As some of our long time readers may know, the Wenches added a baby to our mix last year, my son, Baby Wolverine*. Well, Baby Wolverine is now 15 month old Toddler Wolverine. And, as my parents instilled in me, I am already beginning to instill him with what will hopefully become a life-long love of reading. Fortunately, my husband is an avid reader as well. We are both working hard to steer him towards books and reading. It seems, so far, that we are succeeding! Which means that for this Fangirl Friday, I will be THAT parent gushing about their child. But, it's for a good reason!
So, read on after the break to hear me rave about my son and his budding love of books!
I think it's fairly obvious that I LOVE books. I wouldn't be here writing for this lovely blog with these amazing ladies if I didn't. I come from a family of readers. I've read books on the recommendations of numerous family members on both sides. My grandpa, before he passed away, got me into Grisham and Crichton and Cussler. My grandma, at 93, is a devoted Pattersonian. Aunts, uncles, cousins, you name the family member, I've probably discussed at least one book with them. In fact, my unrelenting discussions of books is what led my youngest brother back to reading at 19. I wouldn't stop talking about The Hunger Games and had convinced my dad and sister to read them. When they too raved about these books, my brother caved and brought the first book back to college with him. A mere matter of days later, he was calling my parents to ask if they would mail him the remaining two books. And, thus, my brother who hadn't read anything outside of school work for several years, became a reader once more. In fact, he read Gone Girl, one of my most recent reads, before I did. That has never happened before.
I always promised myself that any children I had would be given every opportunity to fall in love with books too. So, even before my son was born, we began to stock his room with books. Our baby shower invitations told guests to bring a book that they've signed, instead of a card. Our parents snapped up every children's book they could get their hands on. My brother-in-law bestowed upon his new nephew the collection of children's books that he loved as a child. Not new copies of his favorites, his actual books from his childhood that he's been saving. My mom dragged out the books she's saved over the years, so, even when he visits Grandma and Grandpa, he has books to read. They have dedicated story time at his daycare. His life is saturated with books and has been since day one.
|First Bedtime Story|
Storytime has been a part of his bedtime routine since he was about five months old. He was hooked on it from the start. We started out with just regular old picture books. But, as he's gotten older we've started reading more complex and interactive books. His favorites are pop-up books. We've gone through two of his favorite pop-up books, Pop-Up Peekaboo Tractor. They have just gotten worn done from use, and from him getting so excited about the pop-up that he rips it from the book. He's also demolished Pop-Up Peekaboo Bedtime. His attention span isn't that long, so most of his stories so far are short ones. But, it's getting longer every day. So, he's starting to get into the Dr. Seuss books now, though he doesn't quite make it through the whole book yet. He has also started asking for another story after the first one is finished. And, by asking, I mean pointing at another book and making a whining or grunting noise, since the only words he knows so far are mama, dad, and no.
|He wanted me to read this one.|
As I said, he has loved story time from the start, but once he could crawl and then walk, his love of reading soared to a whole new level. His books are all on a shelf at ground level in his bedroom. As soon as he could crawl and sit himself up, the first thing he would do when set down is beeline right over to his bookshelf, pull down whatever book caught his eye and start "reading". Really, he'd just turn random pages back and forth, but he would stop and look at the pictures on the page he had turned to. Sometimes he would drag the book over so he could be read to. Sometimes he'd just flip through one book and move on the another. As soon as he could stand up and walk, he began bringing us any book he could get his hands on when we were downstairs, away from his books. So, we would flip through old textbooks, puzzle books, non-fiction, plays, anything he brought, we'd flip through until he realized there were no pictures. Then, he'd be off hunting for another book. Eventually, we bought a handful of children's books to keep downstairs so he could be read to whenever he wanted. And, then Nana came to town. Suddenly, the downstairs book pile doubled in size. And, he is asking to be read to multiple times a day. Sometimes, he'll bring you each book in turn until they have all been read. Other times, he'll ask you to read the same book over and over. One day recently, I think we read Peter Cottontail about 12 times. I know it by heart now. But, that's ok. The more reading he gets in now, the more likely it is to stick as he gets older.
We are moving on to longer books now. I intend to keep this trend going as he ages moving into Dr. Seuss, Bernenstein Bears, all of your classic children's books. Eventually working up to short chapter books and then some longer books and series, Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, etc. I'm sure some of you are scoffing at reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to children. But, my dad read them to my siblings and I when we were little and each of us counts them among our favorite books to this day. So, while it's still several years away at least, I know that one day, we'll get to those. And, I can't wait to share some of my favorite books with my son. In fact, I'm not the only one who's anxious to get to longer books. Wolverine is a January baby. The Christmas before he was born, I received a hardback copy of The Hobbit from my dad. This was written on the inside cover:
So, we will continue our bedtime story, and any other reading he requests, as often as he wants for many years to come. Hopefully, in a few years, I'll be back updating this post with how much he still enjoys reading and maybe that he is beginning to learn to read. I know people say to enjoy these years while they last. But, I can't wait to share my favorite books with Wolverine as he gets older. I can't wait to see the wonder on his face as he discovers some of my old favorites and new favorites of his own. And, someday, far far in the future, I can't wait to be able to take a book recommendation from him.
Well, Saucy Readers, that's it from me. I hope you enjoyed all of my gushing. Do your kids have favorite books? What are they? My TBR list is huge, but Wolverine's needs some work.
*Wolverine is (obviously) not his real name. That's what we called him when I was pregnant and I don't want to splash his name around the internet.
**All pics are my own or come from Tumblr.