Wandering Adventure in a Bookstore

Wandering around a local bookstore is a travel adventure to me. Naturally, that was part of my plan when my daughters and I visited a friend in Provincetown.

Talk about the illustrations as you read aloud.
Talk about the illustrations as you read aloud. This is “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Illustrations by Graham Rust.

My 7-year old went one way. My 4-year old whined in agony.

“Mom, I’m not like everybody else in the family.” She threw herself on the floor. “I hate bookstores!”

News to me. We went to bookstores as often as the playground. Snuggling at night with a read-aloud, talking about the story as we read, and keeping piles of library books around the house was part of family life.

Listen to audio books read aloud by the author.
Listen to audio books read aloud by the author.

I led her to the children’s section and encouraged her to pick out a book. A few feet away, I sank into the nonfiction.

Soon, a little voice began. It was my 4-year-old, reading a book aloud. By herself. I held my breath. When had she begun reading? I asked her nonchalantly.

“Just now,” she said.

Look through travel books together.
Look through travel books together.

It’s one thing to be a teacher and witness the light bulb moment when children learn to read. When it’s your child, it’s a thrill. But it is not magic.

These are two simple ways to help your child be a good reader:

  1. Keep all kinds of books, magazines, newspapers, catalogs, and e-readers around the house. Kids need to be immersed in print to become good readers.

    Kids love to read other kids' books.
    Kids love to read other kids’ books.
  2. Kids need to see their family members reading. Read aloud to kids and read alone. (Even if reading isn’t your favorite activity.)

When you help a reader grow, you’re helping to build a better world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Library Week

Public libraries have been around since Benjamin Franklin donated over a hundred books to the town of Franklin, MA, about forty minutes away from me.256px-Benjamin-Franklin-U.S.-$100-bill I grew up around libraries, even worked in one, studied in many, and built my classroom library through constant scrounging as well as donations from families.

One of my earliest memories is of my mother taking me to the library, a weekly pilgrimage to a squat brick building downtown. Inside, opaque glass block windows cast a creepy gray-green light that I’ve never forgotten.

Children weren’t allowed in the adult stacks back then, which presented a problem for fluent readers. I wasn’t the only child who reached a no-man’s-land when I finished reading the children’s books. But my mother, who’d been a teacher, spoke to the head librarian, who reluctantly granted permission for me to borrow from the adult collection. My love of reading blossomed from there.

What role have libraries played in your life?