If you want to teach me to write, first you have to love me. ~AVI

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Books Don’t Leave Home Without One!

Winter break for me is catch-up time. Today was the day to check off a couple appointments from my “to-do” list. Sitting in the waiting room at my first appointment, reading on my Nook, and in walks a little boy and his dad. From the moment they walked in, the little guy was chattering to his dad who lovingly answered his questions.

Dad had paperwork to complete and sat down in a chair. Little guy suggested, “Sit over here daddy in the comfy seat.”
Dad stayed in the chair and little guy grabbed a magazine settled in on the comfy couch. He carefully flipped through Sports Illustrated, a task he was certainly at ease with. Little guy trotted over with SI in tow to ask Dad a couple questions. Dad paused and softly responded.  At three, maybe four years old, this little guy clearly has been blessed with experiences that have already enhanced his literacy growth.
After a few minutes Mom joined the boys in the waiting area. “Hi Mom!” Little guy snuggled up next to his mom who produced a book and began reading to him. He was immediately engaged. I was no longer engaged with my book, but totally entranced by this young reader. My last observation before being called back for my appointment was little guy making a prediction. “I think it was the pirate, mom.” I wanted to check on his age, but hated to interrupt their time together. If I am still in-tune with preschoolers, I would say that he was not quite four yet. 
I am usually prepared with a book or other tasks to keep me busy, so I really don’t mind waiting for a bit. If I happen to arrive empty handed, I will settle with one of the waiting room magazines. On more than one occasion, I have felt badly for little ones that have to wait with nothing to do and are told to sit quietly. I have many more years of waiting under my belt and still hate to wait without something to occupy me!

How often do we hear excuses for not reading with children? Or students who arrive with excuses for not completing homework or reading at night:

“I was out all night at…”

“Oh, we are so busy.”

“By the time we get home, there’s no time to read.”  

Today, waiting and watching, put a smile on my face. I loved observing the pleasure that little guy got from reading and interacting with his attentive parents. The take-away here is nothing new, but just a real live reminder of the value of READING! When caring parents want to know how to prepare their children for school, the answer is simply stated in a four letter word ~ READ! Or when summer vacation approaches and caring parents want to know what their children should do over the summer ~ READ is on the top of my short list! Books don’t leave home without one!


  1. Well said my friend! A mother of a future kindergartener called me last week. She had missed the Kindergarten orientation night and wondered what she should do to make sure her child was ready for September. At the top of my list was also READ! I told her my bias was no workbooks. She sheepishly said, "Oh I thought I would get some this weekend." I think I converted her! It is just simpler, and more enjoyable than parents think!

    1. When I see R E A D in caps I am often reminded of your giant READ letters. Thanks for reading and responding. Phooey on workbooks!

  2. This shows the power of the book. I love the way you laid out the story of this family. Observation can get the best slices of life!

  3. HI Elsie ~ I was thinking of the writerly advice that we try to instill in our young writers who sometimes lament, "I don't know what to write about!" ..live with your eyes, ears, and heart wide open. I was hoping this slice didn't sound too preachy especially since I am surely preaching to the choir! Thanks for the feedback~Theresa

  4. Such a beautifully told and illustrative example for those of us who work - or parent young children.