The girl who didn’t read

15 Mar

Jade has loved books since she was old enough to sit up and look at them.  She’s been known to sit quietly in the “book corner” and look at books for an hour or more.  Any adult who dares spend more than 5 minutes in our house shouldn’t be surprised to be accosted with a book and a head-tilted, hopeful, mono-syllabic request: “Read?”

They say that simply having lots of books around is a major contributor to giving kids an interest in reading.  We have no problems there.  And the girls almost always get half a dozen stories read to them in a day.

Still, I worry a bit that they are lacking in reading role models.

Sadly, they rarely see me or Michael with a book in our hands.  We do a heck of a lot of reading, but more and more of it is online.  Less and less of it is the carefully-crafted story, or perhaps a well-researched non-fiction book.

Somehow, perhaps because online reading is sometimes not just entertainment, but work, it is easier quell child-interruptions with a, “Not now, I’m busy.”  It’s also easier to start and stop the whole online reading business amid the rest of the daily routine.  Picking up a book seems to demand a more concentrated and less-interrupted effort.  And that just doesn’t happen in a house with small children.  At least not much during waking hours.

While I was sick with the flu last week, I read The Girl Who Played with Fire.  Cover to cover.  After spending a day and a half sleeping, I still had to be in bed with my sore throat, chills, and aching muscles.  But I couldn’t sleep anymore, and so I read.  Oh, what a luxury, to read, sip tea, read some more, and then roll over and nap when I needed to.

(I recognize that not every mom gets to have sick days, and I must just add here that I am soooo grateful to Linda and Sonja and Michael for giving exactly what I needed in order to get better.)(I totally paid for it in advance with having to take Jade to pre-op appointments and surgery while feeling like a train had run over me.)(The nurse told me I looked like crap.  Nicely, but still.)

I made myself go to bed at a reasonable hour even though I hadn’t finished the book, and the next day I finished up in the living room, as the girls played.  I didn’t even open my laptop.  Let them see me reading a book, for once, instead of my messages, I thought.

I’m not sure I can keep it up.  In real life, when I don’t have the excuse of illness, there are dishes to wash and meals to prepare, files to file and clothes to fold, appointments to drive to and jobs to go to.  In real life, it’s easier just to check my messages — quickly — and dash off a reply, perhaps.

But sometimes… sometimes, let them see me with a book.  How can we expect the girls to keep loving books, if they’re only good as long as they can snuggle in someone’s lap?

Mama loves books, and Mama loves to read.  Sometimes… I hope they get to see that.

11 Responses to “The girl who didn’t read”

  1. Rachel March 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    I have compromised and have a e-reader now. All my books are in one place and if I am somewhere and have a moment I can read and it keeps my place for me. The kids think it is just like a book because the screen does look like a page. I can get free books like Alice In Wonderland and I find them easier on the eyes over a computer screen. I do have 5 bookcases of books though too….lol. We listen to audio books on car trips also.

  2. Mike March 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    I don’t think that an e-reader is the hit!Ok, perhaps sometimes. But a paper book is an other thing. Internet, Laptops, Blogs and so on are sometimes more curse than blessing, if you coun’t the time you spend at this.So, even if you have to run a household, small kids, and don’t to forget a husband and a job, you should find half an hour per day for a book. Why not, if you don’t work, half an hour of relaxing after lunch (Mittagessen?)Ok, I agree, if you have an exciting nice book half a hour might be to short, but better than nothing.
    So, I wish you 24 hours a day to plan around a book to read🙂

    • Tine March 16, 2011 at 2:28 am #

      Maybe Mike’s idea isn’t that bad🙂 – I guess, it’s all a question of priorities (for me, duty always comes first😦 , though – just can’t help it) !!

      Anyways, I don’t think children necessarily need role models – for example, I’m the only one in my family who’s into drawing, but never let that stop me🙂 !!

      AND: Once Jade & Halia are old enough to read by themselves, you won’t have any toddlers around to take care of (unless … ?!🙂 ), so you MIGHT find some time now & then to sit down & read yourself, too, after all🙂 !!

      ♥ ♥ ♥

  3. Rachel March 16, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    I do read books or magazines every day but don’t have access to all the books I want. Because of my kids I can’t be standing in the bookstore reading the backs of books like I used to do. The reason why I like an ereader because where I live does not have a bookstore. If the kids have gone to bed early and I have a couple of hours of time then I download a book and read it. I read more now than I have since having kids. Reference books I buy in paper but fiction I download for the most part. I hate reading on the computer though. I have a cover for my ereader and it looks like a book and is small like a book. I do think everyone should read. I have audio books (fiction) going while I fold laundry, books on my ereader and non-fiction paper books plus magazines that come in the mail. My mom was a newspaper reader. She didn’t read a lot of books but always read the newspaper and I still became a voracious reader.

  4. Cristina (Bertrand's Mom) March 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Clearly the girls do have great, if very busy, reading role models. 🙂 It sounds like the love of reading is already firmly planted! If I am ever up your way, I would be honored to read those 2 little angels of yours as many books as they’d like!

  5. Captain Momma March 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    You give the girls something that many of us can’t…music! They see you both playing and singing and what a wonderful thing!

    If they are both interested in books and reading I wouldn’t worry, it will continue. The boy hasn’t lost any interest in reading and books and I RARELY pick up a book because I too am swamped with special meals, always driving and the like.

    Glad to hear you have healed up and are feeling much better. How did the surgery go?

    XOXO Kelli

  6. kara March 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    My boys are voracious readers as well! They can drive me nuts at times with wanting to read when I have my hands full doing something else. Hunter has started sitting and flipping through books on his own and now on occasion he will read a book to Cavan- so adorable!

    I have been trying to read in front of the kids too. I now leave a novel beside my computer so I will pick it up throughout the day instead of being online.

    Last summer they saw me read a lot! Whenever we went to play outside, they would drive trucks and dig in the dirt while I relaxed in a lawn chair (placed strategically at the end of the driveway to keep them in) with a book in my hands. So fantastic and I cannot wait to do that again this summer!

  7. fawnahareo March 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    Rachel, a friend of mine showed me her e-reader and I was impressed at how opaque it is — it really does look like the page of a book. There’s something really special about a real paper book that just can’t be duplicated. (But then again, so is having a thousand books in your pocket, eh?!)

    I guess I’m not really worried that the girls won’t like books. But I am concerned about some of the habits they see us practicing — like always having a computer on the go. (Sigh!)

    • Rachel March 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

      Yeah I have to cut back on the computer being on. I try to use my ipod to play music and audio books instead of my computer. I am not a tv person at all so at least they don’t see me doing that.

      I honestly see the main problem with regards to literacy right now is texting. I swear people don’t know how to actually spell words anymore. I used to be embarrassed when I misspelled something but it looks so normal to misspell things nowadays.

  8. Bubblybunny March 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    I feel the same way. Both my husband and I love to read. In our pre-kids days, we never leave the house without a book. One of my criteria when purchasing a new purse is that it has to be big enough to fit a book. 😛

    But since having kids, I don’t have the time or energy to read as much as I’d like. Also, since my son likes to rip books and my books are precious to me, I never leave them lying around the house. I keep my book on my nightstand and I only read at night.

    My husband, however, continues to read his books and he leaves his books lying around the house. There hasn’t been any ripped books, but the bookmark always goes MIA. 🙂 Anyway, my son is always asking him to read Daddy’s book. 🙂

    I wish my son can see BOTH of us love to read and that we love to read different types of books. Someday, when they are older, I hope to be surrounded by books again. 🙂

  9. Rose Gagliardi March 26, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Sometimes I contemplate if folks truly take time to write something original, or are they only just dishing out words to fill a site. This surely doesn’t fit that mold. Thank you for taking the time to write with awareness. At times I look at a page and question whether they even proofread it.Fantastic work with this article.

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