Reading, and all that goes with it

By Joanne Peterson | Jul 25, 2013

I wonder how many books my young grandchildren and I shared while I stayed with them last weekend. Of course, I had neither the time nor the energy to count books during those three days, but reading them together was a pleasure, as it is every time I’m with the children.

Besides, during those three days, reading was a grand—and rare – opportunity for Grandma to sit down.

I think most grandparents read with their little ones. For one thing, it’s the easiest way to corral the sweet creatures and get them to cuddle up for more than half a minute.

Last weekend, I appreciated that in the midst of sibling conflict over a toy or during a pre-nap time when nothing else seemed to suit Miss Abby, a book served to smooth her ruffled feelings.  Also, when I am holding a two-year-old and a four-year-old on my crowded lap, it is possible to randomly kiss the top of either blonde head whenever the notion strikes me, which is often.

If Abby wanted me to read to her, she’d choose a book (or, more likely, three of them) from the shelves in the toy corner of the living room and trot over to me with her selection.

We’d settle into her dad’s leather chair, wiggle around until we were comfy and read a few pages.

At that point, across the room, busily lining up Matchbox cars and murmuring to their imaginary drivers as he organized them for a race, Adam would look up from his play.

Over the top of Abby’s book, I’d notice him frowning as he wrestled with the decision to continue playing cars or abandon them and join us in the leather chair. Joining us invariably won out.

He’d leave the cars, pause at the book shelves long enough to quickly choose three or four of his own books and climb up to wiggle his bony arms and legs into a position he found comfortable.

And the three of us would read.  And read. And read.

It’s important to me that my three grandchildren love books and turn to them frequently. I think my granddaughter Annika now uses her daddy’s Kindle sometimes, but she most often settles in with an actual book.

She is a dedicated reader, reminding me a lot of myself when I was ten and the end of school in June meant the library summer reading program began.  I loved that summer reading program, loved listing and counting the books I cruised through on lazy vacation days, earning a certificate at summer’s end.

It’s great to see our local library’s summer reading program , tempting young readers with actual prizes.  I’m sure lots of local children who participate first made acquaintance with their library when they shyly attended a Reading with Rover session, read aloud to a patient dog and were hooked on books for life.

I’m encouraging my grandchildren to be hooked on books for life, too.

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