Books fill every nook and shelf in our house. I sometimes fear the second story will collapse with the weight of my children's books. One thing I've never been able to deny them is the request for purchase of a book. And they like to keep them all. They do reread them, their favorites over and over again.
There are many reasons to be proud of our children but one thing in particular about my brood lifts my spirits. They're an active bunch, all of them playing multiple sports through high school and two of them through college. One is still in high school and following the footsteps of her brothers in many ways. But all of them have always had a love of books as great as their love of sports. I was so proud of my sons when they packed books to take along to their summer sport camps right beside their cleats or basketball shoes. Just yesterday my daughter asked me to take her to Borders to purchase some fresh reading for hockey camp.
Often other parents ask me how do you get your children to read? I have no sure answer but I know it must start early. Like many parents I read to my children from a time before they could talk. We looked at picture books and made up stories to go with the pictures. Once they could speak, we took turns making up the stories. We went to the library and all those summer programs they offered for children. We brought bags of books home each week and read everyone of them.
As a writer, it is refreshing and inspiring to know there are so many upcoming consumers of the written word. I love going to the bookstore and seeing all the young people shopping and buying stacks of books. As a parent, it is rewarding to believe I influenced my own children to love the written word. I can't imagine a relationship with my children where we didn't discuss books or critique together the movies made from our favorite books.
The past three weeks, my fifteen year old daughter has risen early each morning to volunteer in a summer reading program for children held at the local elementary school. It's been a learning experience for her to help children with something that comes so easily to her. She's also enjoyed the rewards of sharing something that brings her so much joy. She's passing on the love to a new generation of readers.
There are many ways to measure our success as parents, members of the community and writers. Even something as simple as donating a book can make that small bit of difference in a child's chances of loving reading. Even if I never have a blockbuster bestseller, I can look at my sons and daughter and know I've been successful at one of my goals as an author. I hope we all can pass the love of reading on to someone else.