M loves to read. On weekends, it is not unusual to find him on the sofa with his nose in a book. He has three bookshelves in this room and just about every shelf has books on it. I regularly trip over piles of books beside his bed when I go into his room to say goodnight.
We are regular library users. We live relatively close to a library with a fabulous children’s librarian. I started taking M to the “Parent and Me” reading groups when he was about three months old. M got his own library card as soon as he was old enough and regularly searches for books in the electronic catalogue and reserves them himself. Has been diligently working his way through the entire Garfield backlist. Not one of my personal favourites, but I console myself with the fact that he is reading.
M doesn’t get everything he wants. As he reminds us every couple of weeks, he still doesn’t have an Ipod Touch, even though most of his friends do. But he does get books, as gifts at Christmas and his birthday. And every month, we buy at least one book from the Scholastic flyers he brings home from school. M usually brings home 2-3 different flyers and he will go through them a circle what he wants. In recent years, Scholastics has also been offering electronic games, but we are pretty firm about just buying books. It’s fair to say that we probably spend a couple of hundred dollars a year on Scholastics.
In my view, it is money well-spent. M likes to have his own books. When he was little, we would read his favourites over and over. His dad bought him a box set of Captain Underpants when M was born and by the time he could read them himself, the pages were falling out. Scholastics offers a broad selection of books, including popular series like ‘Wimpy Kid” and “39 Clues,” as well as non-fiction. M really likes graphic novels and there is always a pretty good selection.
Buying a couple of books is also a way to cultivate M’s love of reading. My husband and I are both huge readers, but so were my parents and neither of my brothers read much. There are lots of reasons why we want him to read, but part of it is just for the pure pleasure it can bring. A good book can be an adventure, a learning experience and laugh-out-loud funny, all rolled into one.
M spent the better part of yesterday afternoon reading a book. I didn’t ask him to put it down and go outside and play; I just let him enjoy it. It gave me a good feeling to see him so absorbed in a story. And earlier tonight, I wrote another cheque to Scholastics, so he can have more books on his shelves.