Sunday, November 17, 2013

For the Love of Books......


"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world.
Love of books is the best of all."
~Jacqueline Kennedy 

Books.  In our home, bookshelves can be seen in most every room in the house.   They can be found on our coffee table, hutch, crates, kitchen counters and scattered on our couch.  Sometimes we trip on them coming down the stairs. ...Not so fun.

I have vivid memories of sitting in my 3rd grade class listening to "Where the Red Fern Grows" and quietly crying with all my classmates and teacher. I think that was one of the first times I became aware of the evocative power of the written word.  I became aware that my mind kept traveling back to the pages and pondering the words over and over.  I imagined the scenes of my stories and could almost smell the rain or feel the Narnian woods beneath my feet.

Now as a mother, setting the stage for my children to experience such adventures has become a marked priority.  To instill this love, I must bring my children to the table of this wondrous feast.  This requires deliberate attention on my part; researching from trusted resources, trips to the library, but ultimately, it's orchestrating the ambience for the story and my children to meet.
Here are some ideas I thought I would share in setting the stage to making reading delightful .  Several of these ideas I got from Sarah Clarkson, in her treasured book, "Read For the Heart."
          *  display books prominently on coffee tables or around the house
              where kids can see them.
          *  open art and nature books on a table or kitchen counters
              (use plate or cookbook easels)
          *  arrange picture books in pretty baskets or vintage suitcases, propped open.
          *  subscribe to a couple of good magazines for kids (we love Nature Friend).
          *  lay a book on the couch next to a really cozy blanket.  An invitation.
     *  nestle on the couch to read- invite your kids to sit nearby with their books.
     *  light candles, pop popcorn
     *  make reading times cozy with a hot drink of your family's choice.
     *  read in different places for fun: by a crackling fire, outside on a quilt on a sunny day,  
        in the car while waiting, in a coffee shop.

"To learn to read is to light a fire;
every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."
~Victor Hugo

They become part of the family, these well-chosen books.  We talk about the characters from stories around the dinner table, as if they were family.  We discuss their flaws and motives, we want to emulate their strength of character.  Our perception seems to be altered just a bit after we close our beloved book. I notice our children's play; reenacting scenes and words, even whole speeches spoken, verbatim (with accents too!). 
The adventure continues for our family as we anxiously open the pages to a new storybook.  A new cast of characters, a new locale and a new time in history.... 
                                                                           The lighting of a fire.
Under His Wings,