I made a pact with myself at the beginning of the year to attempt to read at least one book a month. Much like a New Year’s Resolution, but with less weight. The purpose behind this was twofold; 1. to pour myself into the thing that I love the most and 2. so my son could see me reading more and pique his curiosity.
Well, four months into 2018, Daniel caught me reading a book and he asked me about it. He inquired about the title and asked me to read it to him. It was a “self-help” book and I felt the subject was a bit heavy for this guy, so I opted not to. Instead, I decided to have him read a book to me.
Excitedly, he runs into his rim and returns with a ton of Dr. Seuss books that I bought him during Dr. Seuss week (commemorating his birthday). I told him to pick a book and then I saw that “Go, Dog! Go!” was an easy reader and I suggested it to him.
He opened the book and began to read. And I do mean read. I could not have been more excited. He was so engaged in what he was doing. He would stumble over words and ask what they were. He tried sounding them out. Understandably so, some of the letter blends tripped him up a bit, so I assisted him along the way. But his enthusiasm never faded. He was so proud of himself. He never gave up. He far exceeded my expectations, as this was the first time that I had heard him read aloud. He did an amazing job!!
For me the biggest takeaways are these: that he had a genuine interest in reading, he didn’t give up on himself when he got to words that were unfamiliar to him and the sense of accomplishment that he felt and exuded when he finished the entire book.
One of my biggest fears as a parent (as he grows, they change) was increasing literacy in my child and building his love for learning and reading alongside that. I didn’t want to force books down his throat, but I didn’t want him to think they weren’t a big deal either, because they are.
We have a library card. He is super excited to use it, when we do. But sometimes, life gets in the way and library becomes the last thing on our list. Even at night, sometimes its late when we actually make it to bed and reading a book before bedtime just doesn’t happen. I admit, I am inconsistent.
I was truly hoping that the “see me reading a book thing” worked because with everything pulling us in so many directions, I was out of clues. I’m happy that it did.
Daniel is extremely resilient. I feel like I have always said that about him and hopefully, it will become one of the many terms used by others to describe his character. His resiliency and his willingness is truly an inspiration to me. Often times, (speaking for myself) we get so discouraged when we mess up, even if its the first time doing something. We all strive for perfection, all the time, which is totally unrealistic. Children embody humanism, to me. They are forgiving, trustworthy, patient (mine is), and have an abundance of unyielding love to give, freely.
Before he even made it to the end of the book, he was proud of himself. He got to a word that he was unfamiliar with and he sounded it out and figured the word out and almost burst with pride. His little smile was so sincere and genuine. I couldn’t help but be happy with and for him. Approaching the end of the book, with maybe two or three more pages to go, he kept on reading. He wasn’t counting pages down, like I do when I’m reading, (or when I count the hours at work), he was excited for his completion. I thought it noble of him, his engagement and his commitment.
There is so much to learn from this experience. It was truly magical. More than being proud of the kid, I am happy that I am able to share these experiences with him. I love being his mom.
Now if only I could get him to keep his room clean…