Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why do you read?

A friend of mine asked this question: Are you a reader? Why or why not?

Here is my response:

My parents both read popular fiction every day. We went to the library three times a week for storytime before I was in kindergarten, and about once every week or two during the rest of my childhood. Big shock I've worked at a library for 21 years now. Now that I think about it, my maternal grandparents both read every day too. And my maternal grandmother's father named her (yes, HER) Jean Valjean after the protagonist in Hugo's novel.

I wonder if there is a reading gene? Or is it just exposure to those around you reading for pleasure on a daily basis that tips a person in the direction of reading voraciously?

My husband and I both read fiction. We met at the library, so, duh. Our eight-year-old daughter's favorite book is Matilda by Roald Dahl, which is a book about a little girl who loves reading. My husband and I have never made reading a chore that one is expected to do any more than we've made watching DanTDM on YouTube into a chore. Katie simply loves to read, just as she simply loves to binge-watch a guy with a cute haircut play Minecraft.

I took Katie to the library a few times a week for storytimes until she started school, just as my mom did with me when I was little. When I was a child, it was my dad's "job"--given to him by my mom in an effort to get us to bond (my father is not a kid-person)--to read to me before bedtime every night. Will and I both read to Katie not just at bedtime but anytime.

Will reading to Katie

Now that she's getting too big to sit in our lap, Katie reads to herself, or aloud to us. She picks her own books from the school library, and I bring books home from the public library all the time, so she's in steady supply. I just leave them lying around the house. Katie picks them up when she feels like it and reads when and what she wants to.

Reading is Katie's best subject at school. I think it's because in our family reading is fun, not forced.