If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that sometimes I post pictures of my adorable niece. Especially since I’ve been babysitting her a lot. One of her FAVORITE things in the world is her books and she’s always carrying them around. Exhibit A:
I’ve pretty much made it my duty, as Genevieve’s aunt, to turn her into a reader and pretty much it’s the easiest job so far because she loves her books! While I’ve been babysitting I’ve been making it a point to read to her a lot and she really does love it. She’ll sit there for far longer than I expect her one year old attention span to allow. I just love this little bond we have and hopefully I can keep cultivating that little bookworm side of her!
Between that and composing my bookish memories recently, I started thinking, “What made ME a reader? Where did that come from? Can I pinpoint it?”
I don’t know that I can pinpoint it exactly but I have a few ideas of the factors that lit the spark in little reader Jamie (who is very cute by the way…remember?).
I remember always loving to be read to as a child — by my parents or by babysitters. “Just one more” was always a phrase I was saying before bedtime.
My mom and my dad weren’t readers so I know it wasn’t like it was a family thing for us as much as I’ve seen really cute memories from other bloggers about reading being a very family thing. Definitely wasn’t my household. BUT I do remember my mom always encouraging me to read and giving me her special Nancy Drew books from when she was a child and pretty much never denying me new books when I had read mine 30 times over. It was very much a hobby that she supported when I was young and, in doing so, my favorite childhood books just spurred me on to seek out MORE.
I think this was a big one and was on my list of memories from yesterday but when my dad got remarried I gained a really lovely stepmom and she would take me to the library EVERY week in the summer. We would literally spend hours there exploring and discovering. She never complained about taking me (because she loves to read) and she never cared that my stack of books was so huge. By her taking me to the library, she opened up all these doors to stories and characters and new worlds that made me into the reader I am today.
As I think about the factors that cultivated my love for reading at such a young age (though I’m sure you could argue I was pre-wired to be a book worm haha) I find it interesting that I was never forced to read. I was given opportunities and I took them and my sister was given the same opportunities, and while she would go to the library, she didn’t LOVE it like I did. I did have some friends who resented reading because they were FORCED by their parents to endure books they didn’t want to read. I also had friends whose parents NEVER took them to the library. I truly do attribute that early love for reading with having adults who were willing to take me to the library or buy me books so I could discover books for myself that driving force in my love for reading.
As I approach, at 27, that age where soon Will and I will be talking about kids I OBVIOUSLY know that I”m going to try to cultivate that love for reading in them. I’m going to read to them, let them discover books, take them to the library and show them how magical it is. I hope that they will love books like I do but there is a chance that they don’t. In that case, I will question if they are my child. Just kiddingggg. But really!
What I want to know from you: Where did your love for reading come from? Did you have people in your life who encouraged you to read? Where you ever a reluctant reader who grew into reading? And if you are a parent (because I want to start thinking about it NOW) how do you try to cultivate a love for reading in your children? Do you let it go if your child doesn’t like to read or try to make them stick with it and discover it even if it takes a little while?