I attended a literature night at my boys’ school last night where they were challenged to read at least four books this summer. Yeah, I didn’t mistype that. Four. I was shocked. These kids are going into first and third grade. The books my youngest son reads can be finished in around five minutes. Now, I’ve been thinking of this a lot today and decided that the challenge was probably intended for older kids and chapter books, but it still surprises me that statistically many kids won’t even pick up a book for three months.
My kids love reading. I wish I could say exactly why or what I did to encourage it, but I honestly don’t know. Daily I’m blessed to find my preschooler pulling books from the book shelf and turning pages. I used to hate having to pick up those books day after day after day, but after seeing my oldest’s love of reading, I couldn’t bare to move them higher. Instilling a love of books can be inconvenient and I find teaching them to read is nothing short of painful, but watching them sit down with a book and discovering they can read it themselves makes it all worthwhile.
I’ve heard this phrase ‘raising readers’ throw around a lot and that’s what I’m determined to do. Books give you knowledge and, of course, knowledge is power, but they do so much more. Books have been my friends, have taught me empathy, have given me an escape, have made me reconsider what I know, have brought me joy, have shown me courage. It’s the books themselves that have challenged me. That being said, my kids will be reading a lot more than four books this summer. I hope anyone with kids will expect more than four as well. Because an increased expectation can only increase their experience—and I want my kids to experience all the good I can give them and then find more in the pages of books.