Monday, August 31, 2009
I've Created an Addict...
I've created an addict, a book glutton, a wordaholic... and I am unapologetic.
I started spoon feeding him books when he was barely 6 weeks of age. Truth be told this was not done out of some teacher notion of what would benefit him, but out of pure desperation. He was unsettled and I was...unsettled. Something about the language in books was soothing. A rocking chair by the window and a handful of board books seemed like good things to have when he was screaming and I was crying.
Then I discovered another use for all the picture books I'd religiously collected during my five years teaching the under fives. My son loved them. Two before nap time was not enough. So we increased the dosage to unashamed levels. Books when he woke, books while he ate finger food in the high chair, books in the car, books if he went potty, books before bed and then just books for the sake of books. We shared them together, under rugs, by lamp lights, next to the beach and, on one occasion, while he was getting a needle at the doctors.
By three he had such an affection for The Poky Little Puppy, that we all thought we might be physically ill if we heard him recite it again.
By four he wanted to 'read' every written thing we came across. Shops signs, street advertising, junk mail, words on the side of cereal boxes, even the tags on his clothes were not exempt.
By five he discovered that words were reliable little things that said the same thing, in the same way, every time you read the same sentence. He exploited this knowing and without my knowledge taught himself the alphabet and enough sight words to render the prep teacher's job (kindergarten if you are in the USA) a task already completed.
By six we had a problem. Picture books didn't cut it any more. Take home readers from first grade were read too quickly and that left, what....? Beginning chapter books? Enter reading suggestions from a friend with older boy children who are also book addicts.
Zac Power has come to live with us this year. Don't know him? He is saving the world people! One word, sentence and chapter at a time. He is not, however, saving my money. My son loves him and his adventures... a whole lot. And is chewing those books at the rate of one every three days. We have come to an agreement. One new book each Friday....if he behaves himself at school. So there might have been a few occasions where he had to re-read last week's book. (Are we the only parents using books to bribe, um, reward our child?!)
In short, I have created an addict. A boy who loves to read... almost as much as he loves to kick his soccer ball up on our roof.
I think on the whole, my work here is done.
What about you?
Got any budding little addicts in your house? And if so, what are you currently reading them?