Sunday Scribblings: The End

My daughter loves to look through her rather large collection of children’s books. And she’s very methodical about it. She’ll pull a book off the bookshelf, scan each page, maybe pointing out a duck or a pig, and then looking up at me to say, “the end!” She does it without fail. Then she puts that book aside and gets another one from the shelf, with the same enthusiasm fitting for a 2-year old. But don’t try to read the story to her—she won’t have it. Her imagination must be working overtime.

It saddens me that people in the U.S. are reading less. I’m sure that’s a global reflection of people reading fewer books. So as I sit here with my daughter looking over the pages of a pop-up book, I hope this is a good sign. I hope her love of books is embedded in her DNA. My son really enjoys sitting on the couch as I read to him, which is a good sign. They certainly see me with my nose in a book, a cup of hot tea cooling next to me. And their father often can be found with a newspaper in hand, or a dog-eared paperback in tow.

If we teach by example, then she is also teaching me to take time for simple pleasures. Watching her giggle as she flips through the pages touches me in a way I never could have imagined. It reminds me of the special relationship each of us has with a good book. We invest our time into activity that yields a different experience no matter how many times we do it. My daughter knows this. And one day, despite the statistics, she’ll realize that in homes everywhere, in bookstores and libraries and communities worldwide, a story is being told, and that connects us all.

For more endings and beginnings, check out Sunday Scribblings.


Mmmmmm, yes. What a lovely meditation on books and reading! And the statistics about the dropping reading rates sadden me, too. I don't know what to blame for it - such a complex issue - but I'm sure that our frenzied busy-every-moment lifestyle has something to do with it. Busy parents perhaps are less likely to set the kind of examples for their children that you mention, perhaps are less likely to make reading with their children a priority, less likely to take time for reading themselves. It's good for my soul to hear about the places out there where books are still shared and savored. :)
Olsum's Diary said…
That's the encouragement needed for children. With these thoughts on reading, your children should have a headstart. I'm glad for them.
Gill said…
So true! I have a daughter who is a reader and I am so thrilled for her, that she knows what pleasures can be found between the pages of a book.
I like your random act of poetry today. I second it!
MissMeliss said…
"It reminds me of the special relationship each of us has with a good book. We invest our time into activity that yields a different experience no matter how many times we do it."

Yes. Exactly.
Robin said…
My younger daughter always read the same way. She often still does, truth be told. It is only now, at nearly 4, that she occasionally has the patience to be read to. It's rare enough that each chance to read to her is precious.

My son is learning to read now, and I'm so very excited about all the new horizons he will find opening up in front of him.
chiefbiscuit said…
Great to catch up with your news - you are so vital and such a ball of energy - you have enough energy to light up a planet all on your own! (maybe a Poetry Planet?!)
I used to tell the story of Goldilocks to my nephew. It continued for a long time. He even remembered where I missed a word or turned the story around. He would point out each one of those. He started reading but that story was one he had to hear from me.

Now he 19 years old and still remembers those times we shared. I too chersish those. We are bonded in ways few apart from family can understand.

He has inherited the love for reading. He is in his fimal year of graduation and now he discusses books with me.

You post made me go in an entirely different direction. Thanks.

You children will remember these times and will retain theirlove for books.
Becca said…
" bookstores and libraries and communities worldwide, a story is being told, and that connects us all."

That's what I love about books, the way they connect us to the wider world, to history, to other readers.

I can't imagine a world without reading~I just hope for growing numbers of parents like you that will encourage this love in their children.

Great post!
January said…
Gautami, I hope to have the same experience with my kids. And one day I hope we're discussing Shakespeare or Alex Haley or Alice Walker.

Thanks for sharing your memories.
January said…
This Girl Remembers--A stat came out this week about how the average American only ready one book a year. I couldn't find it otherwise I would have quoted it directly.

Maybe there's just so much stimulation out there in the form on the Internet, TV, video games that keep people from reading. And it's not just kids. Many adults are working harder just trying to make ends meet.

It's too bad that our elected officals don't do more to encourage reading. I think we need a National Day of Reading.
January said…
January said…
CB (and everyone)--It's my turn to catch up with what everyone's been doing. Haven't been blogging much but that will change this week.
I owe my love of reading to my mother- and she still reads more than I do! I think it's the greatest gift you can give to your child...
Too many people are too distracted by moving images and other things that seem more exciting than reading. Sadly.
Tammy said…
What special gift you have passed to your children. :)
I think the dropping interest in reading (books, at least) is part of a wider set of societal issues we're having. Children read if they are read to (regularly) or if they get it into their heads that a book might cause enjoyment. Seeing a parent engrossed in reading sets a great example for kids. Reading to them--it's necessary and so good you do it!

I can't imagine only reading one book a year! My aunt was a head librarian; my parents, husband and myself have all been teachers. If knowledge is power, reading is the key to unlock that power.

For your daughter, her "end" of each book is surely a beginning of a great imagination--Good job, mom!

Take care!
wendy said…
I think each child needs to find a book that "speaks" them...then they will be hooked.

I worked once, with an incredible primary school librarian. She REALLY knew childrens lit. She could match a kid with a book as easy as a pyschic.

A book should never be a chore, it should be a siren call..don't you think.

So many are force fed "summer reading lists.." from a very young age...that they resent reading..

Gotta give it to Harry Potter..he cast a spell on many....

Great take on the prompt..and your delightful 2 year old!
Rena said…
I enjoyed this post! My two year old daughter loves her storybooks, too. Though most often she wants "Mama read it" and I wish she would do more "reading" it herself! Oh well. I know all this book reading will do her well in the future, like you say.

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