Saturday, August 13, 2011

Literacy and Parenting

Books are the poor man's passport.  They are the child's passport. They can take the reader anywhere that can be dreamed of, any time that has passed or yet may be.  Books are, quite truly, magical things. Sacred things.  It is little wonder that the adherents to monotheist religions are called "People of the Book."  If I followed a religion perhaps it would be one of Literacy. Books are powerful. They inform, enlighten, inspire, entertain, elevate, and assuage.
If you've been following along, you may have noticed I've been writing up a lot of book reviews lately. This is partially because Fiction is the August theme for NaBloPoMo, and partly because I love books.
When I pack for a trip, the first thing I wonder isn't "what clothes should I bring," it is "what books can I bring."  When my daughter was going away this summer on tour with her choir, I worried about how I was going to get enough ebooks on her (now dead) Pandigital Novel* so she could keep herself occupied during down time. We're a reading household.
Reading is an important part of parenting for me. Having my kids see me reading. Reading to them when they're younger, reading some of the same books when they're older so that we can discuss what we've read like a little family book club. 
Part of what makes a family a family is shared experience. If we share DNA and no personal history, then we're names on a family tree, but not a family unit.  Similarly, if we shared no DNA but did share the bulk of our experiences, then we'd be closer family than those with whom we only share a few of both.  I think it's important that we share stories as well.
A family that reads together has something to talk about over dinner.
That said, I find it is hard to find time to read with small children.  I know a lot of this is that I have made the choice to cosleep with my toddler, so when he's out for the night, the lights need to go out. It works great for remembering his late night reading, and I wouldn't want to trade having my sweet boy sleeping where it's easiest to check on him and he is most comfortable for ease of reading.  I just want some more time with a good novel. During the day he's interested in his books, but seems to resent time I spend with mine.  Every stolen chapter is a struggle for us.
Do you have a solution for keeping reading a vital part of your daily routine?
I think I'm going to start employing some at-home DEAR time.  Drop Everything And Read seems to work well in the schools, so might as well give it a go at home. I want to set a time that stays the same every day. Maybe after lunch? Maybe we'll start with just 15 minutes of quiet, no-television, no-loud-music, no-jumping, no-grabbing quiet reading time.  Maybe I'll set up a reading nook for the toddler with lots of fun picture books and maybe some letter cards, and set it up beside a comfortable reading chair for me. He can look at his books, and I can read my books. The tween can read her books too.
I think it will help. Do you have any other suggestions?

*It's dead because she mistook the power supply for my netbook for her Pandigital Novel's power supply.  The voltages are extremely different, and now her Novel won't even consider starting.  I hope this is something we can fix at some point, because I liked the machine a lot, and frankly, it was expensive. Moral- don't buy your kid a piece of electronic equipment that you can't afford to take in stride the replacement thereof.

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