Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Books can make so much difference in a childs life.

I don't remember having had books that were for small children when I was a very small child. I don't remember my parents actually having time to read them to us if they had had them. I don't know if the push for a child to have them was strong at the time or if my family was out of step. I went to kindergarten, which was unusual at the time in Darby Montana, I walked across the 50 acre pasture, mingled with the sheep, climbed over or under a barb wire fence,  crossed the two way highway and walked into my teachers home. Mrs. Sipma, I don't know if that is spelled right, a local foster parent, provide kindergarten for the country kids around her house. She taught us how to count, say our abc's and start to read, which is standard now but a head of the times in 1965. She taught reading by sounds not letters, an acceptable beginning technique now, unheard of then. I later had a high school teacher tell me I could not spell properly because I was taught to read that way. I don't know if that is true but she did ignite a love or reading in me that has never gone away. I love to read so much that in the 1990's when I suffered from depression, I became a reading addict. Yes, it is possible, I read all the time and my children's suffered from my addiction. I stopped reading current novels in 1996 and have not read one since, and will not, but I do continue to read non-fiction, children's books, classics's and of course the bible.

The winter of 1971 in January, after the mill in Missoula burned down and my dad had to go away to Roundup to work, my mother read to us for the only time I can remember in my life. She does not read much and never has, she does read the bible but that is really the only thing she reads beside sewing or cooking magazines, and she does like catalogs. She is an addicted catalog shopper. I digress, it was winter, lots of snow a foot or more, no tv and no dad in the evens. All this things came together to give us time with nothing to do, I was reading the Little house in the big woods, I had gotten the set of books for Christmas the month before. She took and interest in the books and over the course of the next two months she read us the whole set in the evenings. It was a real special time, as she had never really read to us, maybe some nursery rhymes but if she did I don't recall it and I have clear memories that, per my parents, are back to when I was 18 months old. I don't remember her reading to the other kids either and I remember most of their births. I remember the winter snow being so much like the events in the books that that added to it being such a wonderful loving time in our young lives.

I was ahead of the curve as a reader in grade school, I read all of Mark Twain and a good portion of Charles Dickens before junior high. I took ever modern novel class I could in high school and as I went to 6 High schools each class was different with each teacher having their own idea of what modern novels should be presented in the classes. Moving around had been a disadvantage for math but it had be a boon for this avid reader, I got more introduction to the classics's and modern novel than most high school student will ever get. I was a win win for me in many ways. I could go anywhere in a book, places of my choice and escape.

I have always provided books for my children to read and enjoy from the time they could walk, I also spent many an hour reading to them. My two oldest girls do love to read to this day, unfortunately mostly romance novels, but reading is reading. I am trying to sculpt the littler girls reading habits to a more well balance scope. I spend more time with them in their reading and directing their choices, I as a co-at home parent, have a luxury of time that alot of parents don't have and I think I should be held to a higher standard to make that extra time more productive. I think my girls benefit from the time both Poppie and I have to give to reading. Poppie doesn't read much but he is a good listener. Bug doesn't read a lot but when he does it is not romance novel, I introduced him to the Harry Potter series which he did read and he reads other science fiction and fantasy style books.

I think that one of the most important things you can give to your children is a love of reading, with it they can go anywhere. The places you can go, and to quote Dr. Seuss, the thinks you can think..... tomorrow.

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