The more you read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you’ll go.
I always wanted a family full of readers. So I read to my babies in utero. I read to them as infants. I read to them as they were chewing the board books out of my hands. And on that fateful day when they crawled up into my lap bringing me a book to read to them, I think I shed a little tear.
As they grew, we’d get lost in magical stories about dancing letters that crawled up trees, choo-choos that didn’t think they had what it took to make it up a mountain, and yummy pancakes and syrup that’d fall from the sky. And as they got older, we attacked chapter books with a vengeance, starting with sweet stories of giant peaches and unbelievable candy factories. We read all the classics, even making our way through the delightful series about adolescent wizards and witches. Sometimes we even cuddled up in reading nooks.
As my kids got older, the more they began reading on their own, many times to fulfill a reading requirement for school. With the exception of summer, our family reading time slipped to the wayside.
As the parent, I wanted to change that.
This year my daughter and I stated our own book club. Best part? It was HER idea.
She had been reading some incredible books suggested to her form our school librarian that she had been telling me about for months. One Saturday she finally suggested, “You know mom, why don’t you read these books too so we can talk about them?” You didn’t have to ask me twice.
Off to the community library we went, where we enjoyed a fun hunt to find all of the 2011 Texas Bluebonnet Award books. It was a wonderful list of books to start with, as many of them received great accolades.
That Saturday afternoon, with a box of peanut butter cookies sitting between we devoured books. And we talked about them in depth. It was so much more than, “did you like the book?” We discussed social outcasts, poverty, different cultures and religions, and overcoming disabilities. All from an amazing list of books and a few isolated hours.
We are going to continue reading together and discussing books. I can’t wait to introduce her to some of my childhood favorites, Where the Red Fern Grows, Bridge to Terebitha, and The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe. Eventually she is going to want to read the heavy books, like The Hunger Games, and I will be with her every step of the way.
She is growing up so fast. I love that I have found a way to connect with her again and have some difficult but necessary conversations about life through a outlet that we both love – Reading.
Ideas to Start a Book Club with your Children:
- Brainstorm and come up with a list of books you’d like to read together. Think of books you enjoyed reading as a child. Tackle a suggested reading list (libraries are great resources for this). Don’t dismiss any books your children suggest. You may be pleasantly surprised at how excellent some new children’s books are. Plus it will give you terrific insight as to what your child likes to read.
- Set aside time to read – Make a plan to read together or finish a book by a certain date.
- Create one-on-one time to have your discussion. Make it just about you and your child and take away any distractions. Take them to the park on a sunny day, out for an ice cream sundae – make it a special time.
- Ask leading questions to facilitate discussion: “Who was your favorite character? Why?” “ What did you like most?” “How did it make you feel when she said XYZ?” Think of specific themes that occurred in the book and discuss them. Also, there are many websites that have questions for many popular children’s books.
- Have an incentive or challenge for you both to meet. Once my daughter & I have read 5 books together, we are going to dinner and movie – her choice. Come up with a goal and a prize together and stick with it.
- Enjoy the quality discussion with your child. Learn from them.