I have always been a voracious reader. My love of the written word started as a young child with Dr. Seuss classics and The Berenstain Bears books. In elementary school, there were so many great series: The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Goosebumps. I could go on and on.
By middle school I was constantly checking books out of the library (yes, I admit, I was a bit of a nerd). I moved on from children’s and YA books and discovered adult fiction authors, my favorite being Dean Koontz. I still remember the first book I read of his, Icebound. I was mesmerized. To this day I haven’t read a book of his I haven’t loved (seriously, check him out if you haven’t already).
As an adult, I’ve gone through phases where I might not read a book for a couple of months, and others where I’ll read two novels a week. Reading is my stress relief, my escape. One night I can be on a tropical beach and the next trying to solve a murder. Or I can be caught up in the middle of a hunt for mammoth or crying happy tears when the guy and girl fall in love. (Beats scrubbing a toilet or listening to the Frozen soundtrack for the millionth time, right?)
I recently discovered the Goodreads app (yes, I’m a little — okay a lot — behind the times when it comes to technology) and my Want to Read list is quickly growing out of control. But that’s fine by me! Give me all the books! The only potential downside of my ahem, obsession, is that when I really get into a book, all I want to do is spend my time immersed in that world. I have to force myself to put it down and feed my kids or acknowledge the castle they built out of blocks that looks remarkably similar to the ones they built the last 481 days.
But, and it’s a big BUT, I know that reading in front of my kids is one of the best things I can do for them. Besides the obvious of encouraging literacy, books increase the child’s vocabulary, nurture empathy, foster curiosity, and build the imagination. They teach about the past and speculate about the future.
My daughters have stacks and shelves and baskets full of books all over the house. In the living room, their bedroom, their playroom, my office. Board books, picture books, chapter books. Old classics as well as new ones that I think are ridiculous but they find hilarious.
I take them to the library every week or two, bringing home a bag full. My husband and I read to them every night before bed and usually at least a couple of books during the day. I want them to treasure good stories as much as I do. And so far at least, it seems that my plan is working.