The Love of Books: My Children are Readers

Children reading books

BR & SJ reading together circa 2008.

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” said SJ. What precipitated this declaration?

It wasn’t a walk through Disney World. It wasn’t a gigantic box of Lego. It wasn’t an extra piece of chocolate cake.

SJ was holding four books outside of the library. The books included two from the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey and two from the Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce.

So, he was thrilled to have gotten four library books. He even did a dance – right outside the library (I wish I had the video).

Then, there’s BR.

BR has a favorite author: Dan Gutman. He has read many of Gutman’s books including the entire My Weird School series.

These days BR’s obsession is Dan Gutman’s baseball card adventure series. The titles include Ted & Me, Babe & Me, Jackie and Me, etc.

BR gets these books and disappears into his room. He goes through two of these books a week.

Why do my boys love reading when so many boys are not into reading?

My wife started reading to BR when he was just weeks old. He would be awake for hours (shocking, I know); she didn’t know what else to do with him after a while, so she just started reading to him.

Regarding SJ, I remember seeing him in his room by himself when he was two-years old. He was on the floor with a book in front of him. He was flipping through the pages but not before staring intently at each one. He was copying what he saw his big brother doing. This is one case where emulating his big brother truly helped him.

Anyway, some way wonder why we still read to our children even though they are proficient readers themselves. Well, studies show that reading to such children has many benefits.  Jim Trelease author of the respected, Read-Aloud Handbook, notes two reasons why it’s good to read to older kids.

1. A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade.
2. Reading aloud to your kids is also are good way to grapple with difficult issues.*

I’ll be honest. I also love reading with BR because of the time we spend together, and the thoughts we share. I always comment on the books we read, and encourage him to do the same.

The book we completed most recently was The Big One-Oh by Dean Pitchford. I think I liked it even more than BR. The Big One-Oh told the story of a socially awkward boy who was about to turn 10. BR could relate. The protagonist learns many lessons about friendship and about himself.

I love reading with SJ because he is engaged in the text. His facial expressions and reactions are priceless. He also surprises with his comments and questions. Interesting perspective SJ has.

My wife and I are thrilled to be raising readers.

This English teacher dad is proud!



24 thoughts on “The Love of Books: My Children are Readers

  1. I loved reading to my kids. I started very young and continued until they no longer let me. But they let me for a long time. Every day after school was reading time. We’d gather on the couch and read picture books. When they were older, we read Harry Potter. By the time we reached the last book, my oldest could have easily read them all himself, but it was our thing so he let it continue. So happy he did. 🙂

    • My oldest will be 10 in April. We read together every night. I know it won’t last forever, but I so enjoy it. I have to say I sometimes like the books as much as him. Anyway, there are some books he read on his own and there are some we read together. He never reads our book on his own. We never discussed it – just happened. Pretty cool – don’t you think?
      I’m glad you were able to read to your kids for so long too.

  2. My kids love those same authors! Caleb has been going through the Weird School series, which is great, except he tries to read entire books out loud to ME. While I’m making dinner. Or doing yoga. Or reading my own book. 🙂

  3. What a great post! I very clearly remember when Mr. T was super little, weeks old, and my dad would prop him in his lap and read to him. My dad is not a reader, but the fact that he sat and read to T just filled up my heart! I am a reader, so I read with T all of the time, and now, we frequently sit together in the living room each reading our own book! And, Mr. T loved, loved, loved Captain Underpants! We own so many of those books! and even though he is 15, we just bought the latest Dairy of a Wimpy Kid book, because he had to have it for his collection!
    Congrats on raising readers, that is just awesome!

  4. My oldest is 8. She devours books, too. It’s wonderful. The next oldest is in first grade and still learning to read, but I hope she follows suit. Perhaps reading to them when they were young helped. I’m glad that they are into the literary side of things, but I wish they had a bit more of their dad’s math skills too!

  5. One of the parts I miss most about working at the local library was when the little kids would come to the circulation desk all excited about the books they picked out for themselves. Some would tell me all about the book (whether that’s what the book was about or not). Others would hug their books. The best part was the huge smiles they had on when they left with their treasures.

    My kids are avid readers. I constantly have to go and take books away when they’re supposed to be sleeping (normally I wouldn’t do that with teens, but my two are extremely grumpy if they haven’t had enough sleep so it’s a survival tactic). I’m glad you’re raising readers. The world needs more of us.

  6. My kids also love to read and for the same reason: we’ve always read to them. My son will start sixth grade next year and I’ll read to him as long as he’ll let me, but I don’t know how much longer it will last. It’s always been the best part of our day. Glad your boys enjoy it too. I was not a reader as a kid and I can see where it hurt me.

  7. Completely agree. We have read to our kids from the time they were in the womb. Lukas, at least, as Annabelle was adopted and we have read to her since she came home with us. We read Lukas such complicated stories at a young age that his comprehension is off the charts, but his actual reading skills are lacking behind. So we have curtailed the stories a bit, and are concentrating on catching him up on his beginning reading skills. But when he does get rolling, he will zoom ahead quickly.

    Sounds like your family loves reading like ours does. That’s pretty cool. And Lukas LOVES Captain Underpants. Funny Stuff.

    • I’m surprised Lucas is lacking in reading skills but that’s great about his comprehension. I think your thought that once he gets rolling, he will zoom makes sense.
      Captain Underpants is cool!!!

  8. The best part of reading to kids is that they “read” to themselves before they can actually read.
    Also, even adults don’t mind hearing a story read to them (depending on which story). It probably also helps communication between parent and child.

  9. My children know that there is a “limit” on the number of toys they can have but nothing like that on books. I think it is wonderful that your kids love to read. It is so important.

  10. I’m so glad you wrote this! My son is an unenthusiastic reader. He did like for me to read to him, but lately I’ve been having him read to me. I think I will get back into the habit of reading a bit to him each night. Let him sit back and soak in a good story.

    We do have Captain Underpants, but not Big Nate. Is that series pretty engaging? I haven’t heard of it.

    • My boys both have enjoyed it. It has many pics and can even be in comic book form. For those who are less enthusiastic readers, I think it’s a good choice.

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