August 13, 2011

Learning Your A, B, Reads

Filed under: Kids and Life,The Writing Life — jenny @ 8:27 pm

This summer my kids have made a lot of friends–at stops along the way with old friends in Lincoln, NE; at the hotel pools of places we stayed at; and of course, here in Portland, where my brother’s neighborhood is an old-time scene of kids biking on the dead end street, running from house to house to see who can play, and trading scooters.

But that isn’t all they’re trading.

When they’re not outside, what are these kids doing? What’s the first thing my daughter did when she met the Lincoln, NE child, with whom she immediately clicked? What did they have to watch out not to get wet at the pool?

Their books.

That’s right, these kids are reading. For fun and play and sport.

Right now, as I type, my son and daughter and their nine year old friend have a hundred Rainbow Magic books spread out across the floor and are discussing whether a Special Edition is worth two or three…regular editions?

I don’t know the lingo, but the point is, they do.

When they’ve finished trading, the oldest child is going to read to the others. I asked them to keep an eye on their sixteen month old cousin, and boy were they bummed to find out the attention span of a toddler doesn’t always allow for chapter books.

Why am I hearing that kids no longer like to spend time reading? That they’re always hooked up to some device or other and this will render the next generation insensate to the pleasures of a book?

The ever growing number of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day members don’t seem to agree. Just this summer, the Day has spread to the Gold Coast of Australia.

The children’s sections of bookstores across the country all seemed to be filled–often to the point of waiting to get in line, or polite nudges aside–when we got there.

Maybe the apocalyptic vision I’ve heard from time to time is true. Maybe it is.

But the children seem to disagree.


  1. I’m with you, Jenny. I avoid the public library on Tuesdays and Thursdays because those are storytime days, and the line to check out is packed! Plus, there are summer reading club names posted across every wall in the children’s room–a lovely sight.

    Comment by Ramona — August 14, 2011 @ 7:25 am

  2. My children always loved to read! Parents are growing ever more aware of the fact that a good book is a much better babysitter than the TV!

    Comment by Connie J Jasperson — August 14, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  3. Jenny, I don’t understand this either. My kids love to read. My five year old has been tested and reads at a grade 4 level in English, and a grade 2 level in French. Did I mention she’s just going into senior kindergarten? My youngest is just finally picking up some simple words, and I expect any day now she’ll click and be a reading machine just like her sister. Oh… and she’s 3.

    I’m glad to see we’re not the only ones who recognise the importance of reading at a young age.

    Comment by Thomas A. Knight — August 14, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  4. I was just at the library, and they have a summer reading club. The folks who work there got all kind of “previously loved” toys and figures as prizes for the children who reach their goals. This is particularly important in my town, Half Moon Bay, Ca. because we have a very large hispanic and Portuguese population, and these kids love the library. Yes, children are reading. Hopefully, their parents will continue to encourage that. Thanks for for your tour, Jenny.

    Comment by Lil Gluckstern — August 14, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  5. Thanks Jenny. It is so good to know that kids still love reading books. I can’t imagine a world without kids reading books. We have an eigtheen month old in our family who just got a library card and loves going to the library.

    Comment by Darlene Foster — August 14, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  6. It’s so great to hear so many of you see (and value) this as well! Thank you for your comments. Libraries, what a wonderful place. At 18 months–and 108 :)

    Comment by jenny — August 15, 2011 @ 2:21 am

  7. Thank you, Jenny, for reinforcing the value of libraries in our communities. Our children need them at least as much as we did when we were kids. You’ll be gratified to know that our local Bend, Oregon, library was buzzing with children when I was there yesterday afternoon. Also, I’ve been having trouble connecting with an administrator in a Tacoma, Washington, branch library. Why? Because the summer reading program for kids has been going gangbusters and he hasn’t had a free minute. Libraries are alive and well . . . and filled with children, thank goodness.

    Comment by Elizabeth C. Main — August 16, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

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