Did you know that March is National Reading Month in America? Not that I needed only one month to celebrate something that I love doing all year long, but I thought since we’re celebrating and all, it was a good time to fill you in on one of my favorite things to do….reading!
I have always had a love for the written word. As a child, one of my favorite places to go was the library, where I could check out a book and escape into stories.
It’s true what they say, “A good book is like a good friend. It will stay with you for the rest of your life. When you first get to know it, it will give you excitement and adventure, and years later it will provide you with comfort and familiarity. And best of all, you can share it with your children or your grandchildren or anyone you love enough to let into its secrets.”
With my own kids, I have tried to instill this same love for reading in them from a young age. Ever since they were babies, we’ve stocked their bedrooms’ bookshelves full of wonderful stories and developed a daily ritual of reading.
Reading at naptime, reading at bedtime, or just reading in general! Sitting down on the couch for 15 minutes with a few good books is therapeutic for both me and my kiddos. And did you know that studies have shown that children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school? Yet another reason to read, read, read!
A few ways I try to make our books more easily accessible at home include having lots of well-marked and age-appropriate level books. We have a bookshelf in our family room that includes a “Read to Me” story bin, as well as a more independent “I Can Read” basket.
There are also sections for carrying on more well-known early reader chapter books that I enjoyed myself as a child. Some of our favorites include the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingallas Wilder and several E.B. White classics.
We make frequent visits to our local library as well. We have a large wire basket that sits in our living room specifically for library books, which we get to “keep” for about 3 weeks at a time. We’ve discovered many a new favorite story through our trips to the library.
Moving on to my kids’ playroom, there is more space for dedicated reading. Last summer, we gave this room a mini-makeover, and at that time incorporated a fabric tepee in the space. After adding a fuzzy rug, some paper lantern lights and cozy throw pillows, this became the ultimate “wanna curl up with a good book” spot in our home.
Even I can squeeze alongside the kids inside here and enjoy some cuddle reading time with them. But more often than not, I will find one of my two older kids inside here snuggled up with their nose in a good book.
My kids’ rooms are stocked full of bedtime stories as well, which include a lot of the books that were special to me when I was a child. Anybody else remember the Frank Asch classics like Sand Cake, Bread and Honey or Popcorn? And the Jerry Smath books about elephants were also some of my all-time favorites!
Children’s literature definitely holds a special place in my heart. I happily accepted a position this year to volunteer at my kids’ school each week as their Library Coordinator. It has been so much fun finding ways to help better organize the existing stories, deciding on what to purchase and processing any new books, and adding some creative new elements to the awesome library space we are blessed to have at our school. I think I may have found my secret calling in life as a children’s librarian!
And then there’s the dreamer side of my love for literature, where I aspire towards becoming an author myself someday. This is a longtime goal of mine and I hope to complete my “already-started-but-not-quite-finished” book in the next year or so and would love to have it picked up and published. Who knows? Maybe my kids will be reading my own story in our home soon enough!
This new section of my blog – Children’s Literature – will continue to feature lots of great tips on reading with your children, which books our family loves reading and why I would recommend them, and of course, my endeavors as a wannabe school librarian! I hope you enjoy reading alongside me!