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Big Reader

June 14, 2010

I HATE when people are all “OMG, you read so many books!  I wish I had that much free time.”  Here’s the thing: MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY DO, BUT THEY DON’T ALLOT IT THAT WAY.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But the underlying message has always been, “God, do you do nothing else with your life?” and I hate that.  I read fast, that’s true, but I prioritize reading.  Some people watch TV from 8 to 11 every night; I read.  (And sometimes watch TV with my family, but not for three hours.)  I read when I eat non-family meals; I read when I brush my teeth before bed.  When I take breaks from school work, I sometimes read.  When I have an appointment and I have to wait, I don’t flip through magazines, I read a book I brought with me.

Because I read, my daughter reads.  My daughter reads as much if not more than I do.  Over the summer, she will probably read hundreds of books, many of them rereads, because kids who are readers are rereaders.  (I wonder if there are statistics on this.)  They like rereading the same way they’ll watch the same shows over and over again, or want to eat the same foods.  So while other families might be doing things separately, my daughter and I chill on my bed and read.  And then we swap books and we keep reading.  She brought me the second Scott Pilgrim volume; I handed her the second Who Killed Peggy Sue book.  Over the summer, she won’t balk at summer reading programs because she trusts that when I assign her something, it’s because I really enjoyed it, and it’s been rare that she didn’t like a book that I did.  Of course it’s happened.  Not everyone’s tastes can overlap completely.  But we feel positively about reading each other’s books.

And as a reader, I am aware fairly specifically about what my daughter is reading, what her level is, what her interests are, and when she’s ready for something more difficult or more adult.  Because we’ve discussed books for years, I’m comfortable letting her read in and above the young adult section, because we will continue to discuss books.  What some parents don’t realize, because they aren’t big readers, is that when children move from the juvenile section to the young adult section, it’s a milestone, like middle school graduation.  It’s a sign of maturity, or interest in maturity; children are looking to see what it will be like as a teenager, as an adult.  Children look to media as a way of viewing the world.  If you don’t know what your children are looking at, you don’t see what shapes their perceptions.

So I will continue to be a big reader, for myself and for my family.  And I will withhold any anger at comments directed at my copious amounts of free time, because I’m proud of being a reader, and I’m proud of my daughter being a reader, and no one is going to lessen that pride in me.

If you’ll excuse me, I have a book to finish.  My daughter wants to borrow it after I’m done.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jillian permalink
    June 14, 2010 5:57 pm

    Amen!

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