For the first few months of my daughter’s life, we were helpless to care for her as she was hooked up to approximately one bajillion tubes and wires. Hands tied, hearts broken, we did the only thing we could: we read to her. It gave all of us comfort to have something to do, and a wee bit of hope that she could hear us through her coma. That was enough reason to keep going. Friends and family took turns spending hours by her incubator reading board books, poems, and prayers. Due to NICU restrictions, not many people were allowed in to visit with us– but those that did were handed a book and read long hours into the night as the machines beeped and tooted, keeping her body alive as we worked to keep our spirits afloat despite the dire circumstances.
Today, that tiny baby whom we were told had very little brain activity is in first grade and reading at a fifth grade level.
But it all started here.
And definitely here too. That pole behind her held the feeding pump, we would read during all her feeds to keep her distracted.
Now, seven years later, she comes down each morning with arms overflowing with books. Each night, she reads us to sleep in her sweet voice that impersonates various characters. Her bookcase is overflowing, but she reads ALL THE BOOKS. It’s one area that’s been hand-off on my decluttering spree. This is a child who, despite all the circumstances, grew up on books. They were our lifeblood on our darkest days, and by process of osmosis they’ve been imprinted on her like baby ducks to a mother. It’s amazing and fascinating and a testament to the power of reading together as a family.
We find the weirdest bookmarks, though.
Even her brother, who would rather play LEGOs than eat food, stops what he’s doing to listen to books and can now even read along.
Back when I was teaching we preached the power of reading together every day, but to see it blossom this way with my own family blows my mind.
Recently, Scholastic sent us a boxful of books to help kickoff the 20 for 20 Family Reading Challenge. If you ever want to hear a pin drop during the 3-5PM ‘witching hour’, open a box full of Scholastic books. The 20 for 20 concept is simple: read with your kids for 20 minutes a day for 20 days straight. Or if my kids have anything to do with it, for hours a day for 20 days, whatevs. 😉 We’re almost done with the challenge, but truthfully, I hope we never stop. Today it’s Magic Tree House, tomorrow, Harry Potter.
I hope you’ll join us too. You can print out this reading log and record your progress. Watch what happens over the 20 days– what did you learn about your child’s current interests? Did anything surprise you? What changes did you notice?
Of course, the best place to stock up on books is on THE BEST DAY OF SCHOOL EVER– Book Fair day! I was a school librarian in my former life, and literally built our library with Scholastic books thanks to the book fair. When that Clifford truck arrived I think I was as excited as the kids. Supporting your Book Fair supports your school, too.
Find more information and those downloadable reading logs over on the Scholastic website. Have your children choose the books they wish to read, unplug, read at their pace, engage in the story, and reward yourselves when you finish each book.
Don’t forget to write them down, and share your 20 for 20 stories here or on the Scholastic Book Fairs Facebook page! How have books impacted your lives? What are your tips for raising a reader?
Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post but was sent books from Scholastic to take part in the 20 for 20 reading challenge. Huge thanks to Scholastic for all you do to build school libraries and children’s imaginations!