Read!

bookcase pictures-4
*Photo from A Bookshelf Story

Today marks the beginning of national TV Turnoff Week. Will your family turn off the tv? We’re going to attempt to, but it is Spring Break here and we don’t have a lot of plans. We have also attempted tv turnoff in the past and it was great, but I think I was the only one who really made it through the week, and for me the week meant M-F.

So, what to do instead? There are lots of ideas here and here, but my favorite idea is to read a book…or two or three. We are readers in our family and always have been. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t read…it is my longest-running passion in life…and Joe and I have been reading to our girls since they were tiny. They are all great readers now, but my 10-year old still humors me by letting me read to her at night. We have been working on the Harry Potter series since the fall and we are now to the fifth book. Last year I convinced my then 9 and 11 year-old to let me read the Anne of Avonlea series to them. They protested a bit, but after we started they were quite eager to continue. We would all pile into my king-sized bed at night and read, sometimes far past bedtime. It is okay to put your kids to bed late because you are reading to them. Really!

I like my girls to read good quality literature, I have a BA in English, and most of the time I’m happy with their choices. But I’m usually happy when they are reading anything…and so are they. There are lots and lots of book lists that you can use to find good literature. My favorite book lists for kids and teens come from the books Honey for a Child’s Heart and Honey for a Teen’s Heart.

I also think it is very important to be familiar with what your children are reading…in fact you should read the same books they are. I’ve discovered my own love for juvenile fiction by doing this and some of my favorite books come from this genre. This strategy will also help prepare you for the time when your teens start reading semi-controversial books in high school. Last year, my then 16 year-old, read A Thousand Splendid Suns in her honors English class. I had already read the book, and loved it, but I reread it so that I was really familiar with the story. Next, she and I talked. I expressed my opinion about the book to her and we discussed it in the context of our family’s value system. Then, she read the book and loved it…in fact she read the entire book in one weekend…and we talked some more. That is actually a great formula for communicating and sharing your values and ideas with your children (and you can cross something off your “parent-guilt list”):

Read Something + Talk About It = Values Communicated

So, for this years TV Turnoff Week, we will be reading. We might watch a bit of tv, too, but I’m okay with that as long as everyone reads. Here is what is on our family’s book list for the week:

Joe—Lee Child’s Killing Floor
Lori—Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants
Riley—Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games
Lainey—Brandon Mull’s The Beyonders
Halle Jo—J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (with mom) and The Beyonders (on her own…to alleviate any problems we have 2 copies of this book, one is on my Kindle)

Just in case you think your children are too young to enjoy reading, I am sharing this “so cute I can’t stand it” video with you of my “so cute I can’t stand it niece.” She obviously loves to read because her very wise parents have spent hours reading to her. Notice how her very wise parents have supplied her with books and made them easily accessible. I think her very wise aunt gave her some of those books. I think Hannah will grow up to be very wise. What do you think?

A very wise, very cute reader!
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