My father has told me the story about him putting me to bed one night with my favorite story, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. As I was the 4th child in as many years, he had probably had enough of this story. He tried to skip a few pages (yes, skip a few pages in a picture book that is maybe 20 pages long!) But I was too smart for him. I immediately knew what he was doing. He had to start over from the beginning.💖
Fast forward about 30 years. I had always read to my children on a regular basis when they were little. It was something I enjoyed, and they did, too. It was a nice, quiet, peaceful end to the day. Lying in bed or on the couch snuggling with my freshly bathed, sweet smelling children, reading them a story. I usually read to each one individually, just to give them that little bit of one-on-one time after a hectic day.
Since they have been babies, we have moved five times. In each new town we found the library almost immediately and got our library cards! Both of my children are very comfortable in the library, much like a second home to them! Thank you to all our local libraries for creating a warm and nurturing place.
I knew, at some point, my children would grow out of the reading with Mommy phase. I was dreading that day. Fortunately, it hasn’t ended, 16 years later. About 6 years ago, my mother brought me an article from The New York Times A Father-Daughter Bond, Page by Page by Michael Winerip (https://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/fashion/21GenB.html, Original pub date 03/18/2010). The father, Jim Bronzina, began a streak of reading to his daughter every night. The children and I decided to try it for 100 days. My son was in Kindergarten and my daughter in 3rd grade. While it was not much of a change since we still read before bed, we did have to establish some rules. Well, maybe not rules, but guidelines. We absolutely had to read EVERY day. It could be picture books – especially on those Friday nights when I really couldn’t keep my eyes open to read aloud a full 10 pages of a chapter book. It didn’t always have to be at night, and guest readers were allowed. And, except for vacations, each child would get their own reading time and book.
And, so, we began. . .
Thanksgiving Day 2018 we celebrated 2000 days of reading! Pumpkin Pie was be replaced by book cupcakes. March 2, 2019 we celebrated Dr. Suess’ birthday and 2100 days of reading with an ice cream cake from Thomas Sweet in Princeton, NJ.
I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of all of us for continuing and reaching this milestone. The list of books is impressive. We’ve read several Harry Potter, Great Expecations, Jane Eyre, all 14 Wizard of Oz books. I bet both my children can recite all the Bear Snores On books (by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman). I have been away a few times, my mother or my sister have been the ‘guest readers’. I was hospitalized for a week last spring; if my husband wasn’t home in time to read to the children, they read to each other. It was that important to them to continue. One of the greatest gifts to me is that I still get to lie in bed, snuggle up with my children and read to them. It is something that I thought would stop a long time ago. That, I hope, is something they will appreciate.
We have Jim Bronzina and his daughter, Kristen (now Alice Ozma), to thank for the inspiration. And my mother, grandmother extraordinaire, for making us aware of this. Alice Ozma also wrote a book about her reading experience with her father called The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books we Shared. Alice’s changed her name from Kristen to Alice Ozma. You’ll have to read ALL the Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum to find out why. From what we have read, Ozma was an excellent choice!
Children love to be read to. Take 5 or 10 extra minutes at bedtime and read with your children!
Happy Reading, 📚💕📚