Someone very recently asked me to give my opinion concerning reading to children. It was really one of the most difficult questions I’ve been asked, simply because it is an overwhelming task to clearly and briefly discuss. There is a plethora of reasons why I am such an advocate for reading to children.
What began as my own personal love for books has grown over the years as a mission. A mission to make true lovers of literature out of those who do not read for pleasure. I began that mission in the classroom and I continue that mission in my own home now. It has been accomplished with Emerson. She’s hooked. She gets lost in books.
This morning, Emerson brought a book to breakfast and asked if she could read it to me. Of course, I stopped everything I was doing to take a seat and listen. The first time I read this book to Emerson my heart was touched. Today when she read it to me, I was affected even more. Emerson doesn’t just read a book. She has to TALK about it…. I mean TALK and TALK and TALK. Makes me smile. She would stop here and there to make sure I was understanding the plot. We were able to discuss vocabulary such as squadron, festive, amiable, tragedies and comedies, wonder and wander. She even gave me her interpretation of the biblical symbolism. Yes, that’s right… biblical symbolism. She sees it now, because I have pointed it out in so many other books. My faith and my love for reading often collide. I can’t seem to read a book without seeing the scriptural connections, even though I’m sure they are unintended.
For those of you who do not know of the book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce, please become familiar with it. It is one of those books that will touch your heart in a profound way. Really, it will. I will not give away all the spoilers of the story, but it begins with Mr. Morris opening the pages of his own story that he is writing. He writes a bit of his own life every day. Here are the opening words: “Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. His life was a book of his own writing, one orderly page after another. He would open it every morning and write of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for.” However on the next page, we see that “every story has its upsets” as his pages are strewn about by a storm. Without giving away too much, by the end of his journey, he has finished his book and passed it along to a precious little girl who is just beginning her experience as a reader.
The story displays a beautiful picture of the circle of life. It describes symbolically what happens as we leave a lasting legacy and then enter into a better place to call our final home. I am beyond moved that my seven year old daughter gets the message of this story. I am hopeful that my six year old will follow in the footsteps of her big sister as she sees her pleasure for stories daily.
These words I write are for me. I am not a writer. If you have found your way here, reading my words, I am appreciative. But mostly, these words are for my children… for them to one day look back at with nostalgia and appreciation for the paths they took. Thank you for indulging my words. I do hope that within in them, there is something that motivates you if you are a non reader. If you are obsessed with books as much as I am…. carry on!