by Alicia Rudnicki, Library Mix
My mother never forced me to eat spinach. And in time, I grew to love it and other veggies.
I don’t remember my mother ever telling us that we had to “play outside” or “go to the library.” She just gave us lots of outdoor time and taught us how to get to the library. And we did it.
As I was growing up, she never told me that it was important or fun to read. She just showed me by doing it herself. And I grew up to love it like the salt on my meat.
My point? Sometimes as parents we give gifts without realizing that we are doing so. Sometimes we withhold the gifts our children need without realizing it.
One of the most important gifts that my mother gave me was the idea that it was important to take time out to read for pleasure.
For many years, classroom teachers have promoted this idea through a program called DEAR, which is short for “drop everything and read.” Students take time to share books with each other or to read independently whatever they want to read. They loll on the floor on pillows or lay their heads on their desks with their noses in books, connecting the idea of reading with a pleasant respite.
I remember my mother sitting at the kitchen table fully focused on her Reader’s Digest unless there was something pressing to do such as cooking dinner or tending to a sick child. It didn’t matter if there were dishes in the sink or dirty laundry that needed tending: she dropped everything and read.
And I learned to do the same. Even when I was avoiding my chores, Mom never interrupted me if I was reading.
So whether you are a mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle or important family friend, give the important children in your life gifts that will keep on giving. First, take time to read by yourself and let them see you doing it. Second, give them time to read. Third, take time to read with them.
And don’t forget to teach them the way to the local library.