Reading is a big part of my life. For as long as I can remember I have loved curling up with a good book. I am at my most relaxed, most peaceful when curled up somewhere reading a good book. Reading quiets my mind and my soul. I love a fresh a new book whose pages have yet to be opened, whose spine is perfectly unbent. But there is nothing like an old favorite. A good old book is like an old friend, it just gets better and better and makes you feel at ease and at peace. Those favorite books that you just can’t live without and must read over and over again.
They sit on the book shelf whispering my name. Their pages faded and wrinkled. Their covers and spines weathered and permanently scarred from so many years of laying open in my hands. Those 8 books are old friends. They’ve been through many years of my life with me. They are my constant companions, my oldest and dearest friends. They are comfort food for my soul.
I can remember opening the pages of Anne of Green Gables for the very first time as an innocent, quiet, pensive 9 year old girl. The words on the pages calling to me, pulling me in, captivating me. As the story unraveled it changed me. I came away from that book with more imagination, more desire, more need to express myself than when I started. Over the next 2 years the other 7 books in the series entered my world. As a young girl there really was nothing quite like reading the story of Anne, living her life with her through the pages of those books.
Today, the books are much more weathered than in those first years. Today those books hold even more meaning for me than they did all those years ago when, as a girl of just 9 and 10 I picked them up and read them for the first time. Many times I’ve picked up those books and read and re-read them. The books carry the scars of many years of being part of my life. They look weathered, and old, and loved.
Every couple of years I’ll feel an unexplained longing. I’ll feel a pull towards something I can’t quite put my finger on until I glance at that row of weathered books on the book shelf. They call to me with their familiarity and I pick them up and begin reading them all over again just like my 9 year old self and I’m instantly transported to a quiet, peaceful place. Those books are part of me, part of who I am.
One day I’ll get to share these favorite books of mine with Maya. I’ll hand her my special very weathered, very loved, much read copy of Anne of Green Gables and I’ll watch on as she delves into it’s pages and becomes transfixed by the words, pulled in by the story just like I did as a young girl, just like I still do today.
What is that one book for you, that one book you just can’t be without?
One of my very favorite things to do is to curl up somewhere comfy and spend hours lost in the pages of a good book. For as long as I can remember I have loved reading. As a little girl my mom used to read to me all the time. We had shelves and shelves of books to choose from. When I was able to read on my own I would spend great amounts of time with my nose stuck in a book. I joined every reading club in school. I used to love those summer reading lists that the teachers would hand out to get us ready for the next school year. The library was one of my favorite places to go with my mom.
This love of reading that I developed at a young age resulted from my mother’s own love of reading and her desire to foster a love of reading in her own children. She encouraged us to read, she challenged us to be better readers by engaging us in discussions about the books we were reading and she made sure we always had access to lots and lots of reading material. One thing that used to bug me at the time but that I understand now that I am older, was that if she felt like I didn’t know enough about the book and couldn’t tell her enough about it if she asked questions she would make me go back and read it again. Which was fine if I enjoyed the book, but man did I hate that if I didn’t like the first time around. I get now that she was just trying make me a better reader and helping me to have better reading comprehension, but boy did it bug me.
As a mom I am embarking on my own quest to foster a love of reading in Maya. Already I can see the fruits of my labors.
She loves books. She loves reading by herself, loves sitting with me reading books. She will choose to read a book over playing with toys almost every time. At the Science Center here in St. Louis they have a little reading corner. That is the first place she ran to when we got to the Science Center the other day and she spent half an hour there contently reading their books on dinosaurs and weather, it was adorable.
Everyday, at least once, I’ll realize that she is being very quiet and I look in her room to see her sitting quietly in front of her book shelf reading away. She used to just flip through the books and look at the pictures, but now that she has started retaining and memorizing some of what I have read to her I will actually catch her “reading” the books too. As a mom who is also an avid reader this just warms my heart. To see my daughter already loving books and reading and learning is just so awesome to me.
She even reads to the cats
Reading to your child from the very beginning is so important to their cognitive development. They learn about language by listening to the stories you read to them. They will learn things like the alphabet, new words, the meaning and concepts behind the words they hear and, of course, will eventually learn to read as well. So grab a book and read to your child, it will be the best thing you do all day, I guarantee it.