I love to read. So do all of my siblings. Someone asked me what my parents did to get us into reading. I’m still not sure how to answer that, but here’s a thought.
Reading wasn’t rewarded at our house. We never had word walls or anchor charts or point systems. We didn’t have reading logs. It honestly wasn’t even celebrated.
Don’t get me wrong, we argued about plots and characters and genres. We got passionate about books and ideas and geeked out about topics that we loved.
But the focus was never on being a better reader. It was about learning or getting lost in a story or discovering a world. We had books everywhere. On counters, where the food stained the pages. On the coffee table. Strewn all over the floor. On our bookshelves. On our beds. Our dinner table was stained from newspaper ink.
When we did chores, we earned bookstore money and when we went to the bookstore, it felt like going to a candy store. Then, when we used up those books, we spent hours in the library.
The point is that reading was never particularly special. You know how some families leave a television on all day and you just kind-of show up and surf? That’s how it was in our house with books and magazines and the newspaper.
It never felt like we were reading all the time. I mean, we played video games. We watched t.v. We played outside often. We drew and painted and built things. But reading filled in the gaps.
Reading was like eating or drinking or breathing. It was just a part of life. It never felt elitist (probably because my parents enjoyed John Grisham novels instead of busting out Dostoevsky). It never felt unusual. It was just a part of life. We were immersed in the printed word and we never saw it for what it was: a gift.
And so, I ended up falling in love with reading in that way that you love a family member. It was just so normal and casual and comfortable to read. It was always a part of me.
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