Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Reading

I have been an avid reader all of my life. I can remember sitting in front of my Dr. Seuss bookcase, reading the day away as a a little girl. I loved escaping into a world where people ate green eggs and ham. I read every Disney fairy tale over and over again until I started wondering where I in the world I put that pesky glass slipper! As I got older I would stay up past my bedtime just finishing up those last few chapters of Sweet Valley High or Babysitters Club. It was my escape, I could pretend my friends and I were in the middle of a babysitting caper or I was one of the uber-popular Wakefield twins of Sweet Valley High.

Then the unthinkable happened. The summer before eighth grade my mother went to the library and brought me home a tall stack of books that I did not want to read. They were the suggested reading lists by the school and library. How boring, I thought! I did not want any school suggested reading to interrupt my summer of non-academia reading. My mother insisted, no, she enforced it. I did not have a choice. I had to read these horrible books. I took the stack of books into my room and looked at the aged covers with titles I had never heard of. All of the covers had pictures or photographs that seemed to have been written in another time. Things I should be forced to read at school, not at home. Certainly, nothing I could or would relate to. Or so I thought. My mother turned on the timer (yep, she timed my reading hour) and I had no choice but to throw myself into the 1930's deep south in "Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry". When the timer buzzed, letting me know my reading hour was over I continued to read on and on and on. I read the whole book that day. I then eagerly opened up the next book, "I Am the Cheese" and gobbled that book up almost as quickly as the first. And then onto "Summer of My German Soldier". There were more books; books I don't recall the titles to any longer. I read them all and went to the library looking for more suggestions. My whole world opened up wide. There were so many other perspectives, lifestyles, struggles, time periods, etc. I do believe that was the summer I truly became a reader. 

Every summer I pick up a childrens classic or two and read them aloud to my children. We have read "James and the Giant Peach", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Matilda", "Alice in Wonderland" and so many more. We are now tackling the first book in the "Harry Potter" series. It's fun introducing these classics and rediscovering old favorites. 

The other day my kids and I went to the library and signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge. We had summer reading lists in hand and borrowed a few books from each list. I set the timer  and they read away. My oldest reads beyond the timers buzzer now.

Happy Reading!

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