I don't remember the struggle to learn to read; I actually don't remember learning to read at all. It seems like one day I wasn't reading and the next day I was. Some of my fondest early memories of reading involve my mom taking me to the public library. In my memories the library was always ginormous (it isn't), a dark-ish place (it has lots of windows), smelled of books, and was absent of anything but hushed whispers (these last two things are mostly true). For most of my childhood and many of my teen years I was well acquainted with the public libraries in Alexandria, La. all thanks to my mom. She encouraged me to read, not only by reading to me but also by being an avid reader herself. It seems like we were at the public library a lot and it seems like I would go home loaded down with books. At naptime if I didn't sleep, mom encouraged me to read. When I outgrew naptime, I was still encouraged to use that time of day to take some time to read. As I advanced from picture books to Nancy Drew, I found myself lost in the adventures and journeys of those stories. In the summer when it was too hot to play outside, I lost myself in The Bridge to Terabithia, or in what Nancy Drew was trying to figure out next, or what those wacky Sweet Valley High twins were up to. In the wintertime when it was sleeting or too cold to go outside, I remember curling up next to the fireplace flipping through a magazine or reading about Josephine and Napoleon. It didn't matter what I was reading...it could've been a shampoo bottle, I was always doing it. You can see pictures of me at various relatives' houses with my nose in a book...you will still find me that same way.
Thinking back through my reading life, I realize how lucky I was (and am) to have a mother who not only read to me and fostered my love of reading, but is also a well-read reader. She never once questioned my taste in books, never tried to censor what I read, never tried to steer me away from anything...she simply honored my desire to read by unleashing me on the public library and happily driving me home with our latest haul of books. Because my mom's model of reading, I emulate her not only with what my daughters want to read, but with my students as well. I hope to always be a like her--being open-minded about others' reading choices and to be a widely read reader.
I love reading and escaping into books thanks to my mom.
I don't remember having a conversation about it when I was a kid either, but I do not remember ever not reading. I just did it, a lot, and always had this feeling that my current book is like a good friend and we're having the best conversation. The thing that sticks out to me more than anything is that I was always encouraged to read because I loved it so much and never told that I couldn't (well except when I wouldn't put my book down to eat dinner or watch my brothers basketball games, and yes I can tune out noise really well!). When I found something I loved (such as Harry Potter in the 5th grade) mom and I would make the trip together as soon as the next one came out to get it for me. We'd hit the public library, the school library, buy as much as we could out of the scholastic book orders, or the school book fair so I would have something new. When I wanted to read The Goblet of Fire for the 8th time because the Order of Phoenix wasn't out yet, she let me. That might not seem like a big deal, but to me it really is...I loved it.
My mom has always been 100% my biggest fan and her encouragement to be smart and do as well as I could in life I've come to realize is one of the greatest gifts she's ever given me. She always wanted more for us than she had, and helped us realize that while our hearts were also in sports, our education and smarts were what was going to be taking us places. These days, I am thankful that we still both share the love of reading, especially now to go to book signings together. It is a lot of fun for me because we're reading the same genres and have a lot of the same interests, but at the same time interpret it completely different. We talk a lot about how everything makes me cry, and she doesn't have the same reaction, ever, as I do. I love seeing how something will effect her, and I'm glad that it's something we can share. She now has my dream job, if I didn't really love being a nurse, by working in the school library so she almost has the up and up before I do from her kids. I'm proud that she gets I talk books to other young readers and help foster their love of books every day. Our mothers guidance is probably one of the most taken for granted aspect of growing up, and I'm glad that she's always been one of my best friends! Happy Mother's Day Mom, since I know you're reading and still supporting what I'm doing (even with this blog!) and I love you!
Happy Mothers Day to all you book moms out there who rock at taking care of your kids and will help them love reading just like ours did!