The 95th celebration of Children’s Book Week begins May 12, 2014. Children’s Book Week is designed to foster the love of reading in children. It is the longest-running literary initiative in the United States, and is administered by Every Child A Reader, a 501(c)(3) literacy organization.
I’ve written before about how important reading was in my family when I was a child. I remembered that importance again with a recent story my father told me.
My father had a meeting with a man who is a college fundraiser. The man is a young father, and was interested in my father’s description of what my siblings and I are doing.
“How did you manage to raise four highly educated kids?” the man asked. “It must have been more than luck.”
My father thought awhile. “I think it’s because we read to them when they were growing up,” he told the man.
And later he sent the young man a copy of Winnie the Pooh to read to his children.
Now I have to admit that I did not appreciate Winnie the Pooh as a child. I thought the woozles and wizzles were stupid—even as a five-year-old, I knew that the footprints in the snow were just Pooh and Piglet walking around the gorse bush. I did not see why my parents thought the stories were so funny. It took adulthood for me to come to see the humor.
But my parents did read to me almost every day when I was a preschooler. I learned to read by following along.
I learned to read before I thought I was supposed to—I thought only grown-ups were supposed to read. I had to be sure to put the page back where Mommy left it when she got called away in the middle of a story, so she wouldn’t know I’d been reading ahead. Then I was bored until she caught up with me.
Later I read to my little brother and sister, and later still my husband and I read to our children.
And, as my father told his acquaintance, we all valued reading and education as a result.
So take the opportunity of Children’s Book Week to buy a child a book or take a child to the library. You—and they—will be glad you did.
What has reading meant in your life?