My first-grade son has turned into a rabid reader. Yesterday we had to make an emergency trip to the library for more Captain Underpants books. (Listen, I’m just glad he likes to read at all.) A boy after my own heart… Made me remember this post from my archives about my own childhood love of books.
Ramona Made a Reader Out of Me
Anyone have a tween girl I can borrow? I’m dying to see the “Ramona and Beezus” movie. As a kid, my love of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona was rivaled only by my affection for Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik.
The following anecdote will either a) reveal what a geek I was as a kid, or b) prove that I was destined to be a writer when I grew up.
One night I was reading in bed when I came across a particular passage. I honestly don’t remember whether it was a Ramona book or an Anastasia book, though I’d bet on the latter.
Anyway, this passage was describing the hapless protagonist’s humiliating turn at being forced to shimmy up a rope in gym class. She inevitably lost her grip, and plummeted to the floor in front of all her classmates.
Something about that word “plummet” sent me into gales of laughter. In fact, as my mother tells it, I laughed so hard I fell out of bed. So, writers? If you’ve ever doubted the power of word choice, let this be a lesson to you.
This past year my son’s preschool class made little booklets about themselves. They listed their likes and dislikes, favorite activities, foods, etc. Under “Favorite thing to do with Mommy” Miles listed “read books.” I’m not gonna lie, people. I teared up. Especially because that’s MY favorite thing to do with my kids.
Miles has loved books from Day 1 and is the type of kid who will read anything in front of him, including a cereal box. Now, I’ll admit I don’t always love his choice of reading material, like the mind-numbing “Cars” books based on the animated motion picture, or the encyclopedia of sharks. (Which is clearly not intended for 4yo’s since it includes detailed instructions on what to do if you are ever attacked by a shark. The gist: punch it in the nose and swim like hell.)
Then there’s Riley. I know he’s only 16 mos. old, but I genuinely feared he was destined for a life of crime and illiteracy since he showed zero interest in books for much of his life. Then, all of a sudden, things changed, and now he climbs up on the couch next to his brother with his own book every time he sees Miles reading. And he does the backwards butt-scoot into my lap when he wants me to read to him.
My second-born is WAY pickier when it comes to reading material, however. He’s stuck on the same 6 or so board books, including a stupid one about a cow that came from the $1 section of Target and a non-age-appropriate book about tractors that’s of questionable literary value.
But what do I care? I’m just thrilled that my children are readers. (Even though I know that can change at some point.) It’s even inspired me to rediscover my OWN love of reading, which has withered up and died tapered off since I had a second baby.
I had stopped going to the library because the overdue fees were starting to cut into my kids’ college funds. I simply could not finish a book or manage to return them on time. But I’m giving it another go. Although, wouldn’t you know, I’m overly ambitious right out of the gate and am currently reading 3 books at the same time. I’m taking full advantage of the library’s online renewal policy. Just think: with all the late fees I save, I can buy a movie ticket to see “Ramona and Beezus”! Who’s with me?