Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Thank You Note

Zach and Teagan got mail yesterday- a thank you note from my great-grandparents. Written in my mom's handwriting.

 Teagan opened the envelope:

Dear Teagan and Zach, Thank you very much for the Santa Clauses. We like them very much. Your gingerbread house is in our apartment. It makes us smile and think of you. Love, Great-Grandma and Grandpa

Aside from "Clauses" and "apartment" and "gingerbread," Teagan read every word of the letter by herself! 

She's been reading words here and there. Sometimes she reads by sight and sometimes she sounds things out. She gets excited when she recognizes words. There are books she can read on her own- books designed for early readers. But this was just a letter. And she opened it up and read it all by herself. Teagan, my kindergartener who turns 6 in March, is a reader. And I am so excited for all the possibilities and doors that this opens for her! Jeff and I are both readers and both of us hope the kids will be readers so we can all share that passion together.

I read like crazy as a kid. I'd read a book 20 times. One of my favorites was Black Beauty- I wish I still had the copy I used to own. The artwork in it was gorgeous and really formed a lot of my imagining of the story. Even silly little tween books without much of a plot would be read over and over- a girl trying to call the cute boy she has a crush on who calls a wrong number and ends up really liking the guy on the other end until she sees him and realizes he isn't a good looking athletic fellow or the book about the girl who had psychic visions and could predict future events and predicted the collapse of a bridge. I had a thing for the Black Stallion books, too. And Nancy Drew. And so many others!!

Jeff enjoyed reading, too. He's a sci-fi and fantasy fan. But he didn't start enjoying reading until high school. He doesn't remember books being a big part of his childhood- but it was in high school that he discovered Star Trek novels and the rest is history.

Jeff and I both have memories of being told not to read at the dinner table. So we have this plan that we will have regular reading nights at our dinner table (provided we ever have a dinner table again) where we can all bring our books to the table and read while we eat. Maybe we'll have a family book club and read together and discuss what we're reading as we go. But reading will definitely be part of our family culture.

Do you read? What about your kids? Did you encourage them to read? How do you incorporate literacy into your family culture?



Amy said...

I read more in the summer than other times of the year. More down time then, I think. Two of my kids are readers; I love it. Charlie isn't so much a reader, but anytime he asks for a book, we get it to encourage him to develop a love for reading.

Anonymous said...

We love reading but do have a no reading at the dinner table rule. We use that time for talking instead. But, my youngest is 14 and my husband still reads aloud to him at least 3-4 times a week. Right now there are 3 of us passing around new books that we have read - a 19 yo, my husband and myself. Makes for some great dinner table discussions.

Liz Mays said...

I was a HUGE reader as a child and so was my daughter. My son was more sporadic, but still enjoys it occasionally.

That's really cool how she just opened that up and started reading!

Call Me Cate said...

I do love the idea of a family book club. Though, I suppose the kids are too young for the required wine. ;) I was another avid reader at a young age. I don't remember ever trying to read at the dinner table but I do remember many nights under my covers reading by flashlight.

Alison said...

First of all, what a great model to receive a thank-you note!

I was a voracious reader, to the point that my parents actually used to yell at me to go outside and play! It came naturally to me, even before I started school.

My brother, on the other hand, struggled with undiagnosed (though minor) language problems, and never liked reading. It wasn't until his twenties that he made a huge effort to improve his reading in an effort to improve his writing. For the first time, he learned the pleasure of reading.

I feel that his kids are being taught that reading is more than an assignment you do for school. I don't see them much, so I don't know how often they see Mom and Dad reading for fun. But I think that seeing adults choose to read for fun is essential for most kids to learn to enjoy it themselves.

Is this something you do? Instead of watching tv, do you sit down and grab a book once a week or so, while the kids play? I've had tons of friends say "I used to read..." or "I want to read..." In our house, it's a priority!

Joanie said...

I hope both of your kids continue with a love of reading!!

I, myself am an avid reader (I read 66 books this year. I had them listed on my blog. I started a new list for 2011.)

My Gina was my big reader. That girl would rather read than anything else in the world!!

Tim is now, but growing up, it was all I could do to get him to read the books on his summer reading list that were required! I actually bought him a Harry Potter book that he really wanted and wouldn't let him have it until his summer reading was finished

Dani s not a big reader either, but once she gets into a book, she's really into it!

I won an eREader last week on Facebook and I'm giving it to Dani as a late birthday gift since I have a Kindle, Gina has a Nook and I bought Tim a Kindle for Christmas.!

Eternal Lizdom said...

Joanie, I've always enjoyed your sharing of your reads!!

Flartus- you make an excellent point. Part of why my kids don't see me reading enough is because when they are sitting or playing quietly or watching TV, that's when I'm doing dishes or writing for FitCity or folding laundry. They don't see Jeff reading before he goes to bed. I want to make an effort to change that. It will certainly be easier as they get older and can read on their own more- maybe that's part of why we like the reading dinner idea so much.

C. Beth said...

SO cool. Chickie will sit and look through book after book after book. I am so excited to see her learn to READ them!!

Karen M. Peterson said...

My nephew is the same age as Teagan (just a couple of months younger) and it's so great to see him excited about reading and really starting to get it.

My brother and I are voracious readers. Always have been. Our grandmother used to get mad because we'd always bring books in the car and she wanted us to enjoy the scenery.

Unknown said...

Oh Liz! I am so excited for her. Reading is the way to go! We love reading in our house! Kaish is currently reading the Harry Potter series. I am reading something interesting by the girl that wrote White Oleander. I can't remember her name or what the book is called. It is the first book I read all year. I am ashamed of myself for not picking up a book in 2010...

Liz's Mom said...

May I recommend the Great Illustrated Classics? They are 4-5th grade reading level of the great classics__Frankenstein, War of the Worlds, Huckelberry Finn, Secret Garden, etc. You can get them for about $3 per volume at Barnes & Noble, Michaels, 1/2 Price Books, etc. The print is large enough with a black and white drawing on each opposing page to help keep the plot going. These are great books for encouraging boys to read because of the great stories. Each volume is about 240 pages long. There are about 60 volumes. Look for the white spines.

Katherine said...

I was a huge reader as a child, and still try to be! I think that reading is very important, and I'm seeing my son start reading more and more and it makes me so happy.

Good for Teagan!

Kate said...

I found you from Pumpkin Delight. I love your site. I’m going to poke around a little bit, but don’t worry I’ll put everything back where I found it!!

Eternal Lizdom said...

Nice to meet you Kate! Things still seem to be in order around here so you are welcome to poke around anytime since you seem to clean up so nicely!