Sunday, May 17, 2009

What We Did Right-

As a parent, it's so hard to know exactly how to do it all. There are so many dreams and expectations that we have for our children and it's dizzying to know when to go with gut, when to consult the experts, when to mimic a friend and when to rely on the memories of how we were raised ourselves. In the end, we never really know- and it's usually some combo. We hope the the result is joy and pride but it can also result in sadness and defeat.

I have been reading to Cooper since he was born. Truthfully, it seemed odd when he was so small, but it's what my mom did for me and it's always touted as being important in books and magazines. It gives kids experiences in their minds/imaginations before they can have them for real. It teaches and guides and bridges the roads to speaking and learning to read themselves.

I adore reading- always have. Jon loves it now, but didn't as a kid. Our bedtime routine used to include both of us snuggled in bed with Cooper reading 2 stories before kisses and lights out. Only 2 at bedtime- although sometimes he could convince us to read more. During the day, he'd sometimes crawl up onto my lap dragging books with him and begging me to read. Sometimes I wondered whether he'd ever tire of listening to me read. Now I'm the only one snuggled up with him and more often than not- he's reading to me.

Lately though, his reading has taken off- he's a voracious reader- he reads anything he can get his hands on. We went shopping for plants a bit ago and he took a book. He read for an hour while we shopped for the perfect shrubbery. Jon went to look at a boat on the way to the river. He talked to the man for over 90 minutes- Cooper read the entire time. Both times, people look at us like we're nuts- how did you get him to be like that???

I don't know- because the child will only eat 6 things: pizza (only specific kinds, and NEVER frozen), chicken, yogurt, pancakes, hot dogs and bagels. He's painfully shy and it borders on rude when were meeting new people (or sometimes people that we've known for ages) and he won't try ANYTHING new without either an act of Congress or a candy bribe. Clearly, we missed the boat on these things....

But reading....with reading, we did something right!! We used the right formula- our modeling + his brain + a great 1st grade teacher = 1 kid who LOVES to read. It amazes me and makes me so happy, and fills me with pride because you know....reading is fundamental!

Tonight, I tucked him into bed after reading the first chapter in a book about pirates. He looked up at me and asked if he could read a little more on his own. Sure- that's fine.

Almost 2 hours later, I happened to walk by the living room and this is what I saw....


He finished the book. 105 pages about pirates.
He may be dragging tomorrow morning- but he knows a thing or two about a pirate!

Ayy Matey!!


The Browns said...

OH Carolyn! That is SO great...for SO many reasons. Thanks for giving us the rest of us hope and describing that light at the end of the tunnel!

Congrats Cooper!

And PS - I have NEVER thought he was rude.

Lora said...

this is great!
my grandma was a librarian, and she used to say that "if you can read, you have the potential to know all there is to know in the whole wide world".