It's the time of year when I start combing through my “must read” list getting ready to curl up next to the fire with a great novel. As an avid reader and author I’m a bit addicted to books. I must credit my Grandma, Mo who bought me my first series of Little House on the Prairie books, and all the babysitting gigs allowing me to fund the purchase of the entire series of Sweet Valley High books. Mostly, the credit goes to my high school English teacher, Ms. Reidler for helping encourage my love for reading. She made me work hard to find the meaning behind the words. That was a priceless gift.
I remember being shocked when I once read that 40% of college grads never read a book after graduation. I vowed to pass on my love of reading to my children. I made it my personal mission to create an environment filled with books. An experience that cultivated comfort and created an escape for them.
From the time the kids were in the womb I was reading to them. Pajama Time-Sandra Boynton, 10 Little Lady bugs-Melanie Gerth, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear- Martin/Caryle were some of our all time favorites. To make that reading time special we had many spaces dedicated as reading sanctuaries. Some formally, most created on the fly using our imaginations but all of them created a feeling. A feeling they sought out, a quiet place to snuggle. The kids taught me the perfect reading nook need only 3 simple elements, good lighting, a cozy setting and lots and lots of books. How much easier can decorating be.
In hopes that this sparks fun and creative family time for you that ignites the desire to pick up a book and relax, here are some of our favorites ideas.
To my dismay the love of reading seems to be more of chore than a treat as our children have entered their teens. In the age of snap this, insta that, and the Fortnite phenomenon the struggle is real. So, when we built our Iowa home I envisioned a huge daybed built underneath our stairs. Imagine an oversized down mattress, lots of fun pillows and bright colors. Dave built the piece to with built in storage perfect for games, books and blankets. It’s more of a hidden retreat and great for naps too! Most of all, it’s a great escape for our teens. A place of quiet and peace where we find them often. So, by now you are saying okay. You created the environment now what!
Good news! A study by Pew Research uncovered that 74% of people surveyed have read a book in some format in the last 12 months. I share this because I’ve accepted that reading is reading. In any form. Being a good example and reading yourself is a great start. For elementary kiddos we can thank the school system for making reading a part of their nightly homework which helps us as parents set expectations that parallel assignments at home and through summer months.
When your kids get older, it is harder and what I learned worked best for our kids was providing a variety of ways to promote reading. For example, we travel a lot and I always have an audio book queued for our trips. This is a cool way to engage and interact with kids, you have a captive audience. My kids ALWAYS have their electronics with them but oddly (chuckle) those books aren’t attached to their hips! So, I encourage my kids to download books…pretty much whenever they want. It’s something I’m willing to pay for without question but there are also so many free ebooks available it’s a wash. I don’t read the newspaper or even watch the news. I gave it up years ago. But my kids are on top of all the current events. Statistics from Pew also showed that teens are more likely to read the news than we are. Case in point our tribe. It’s like a ritual, Dave buys the Sunday paper and donuts for the kids, we have brunch, read and read some more….okay there may be a little football in the mix too.
Whether it’s a book, a magazine, a white paper, the newspaper….Reading is Reading! We want to hear from you! What ideas do you have to encourage your kids to read?
Our Fall Family Favorites
Paper Towns by John Green
Holes by Louis Sachar
Prisoner B-3087 by Gruener, Alan and Gruener
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Blue Marble by our friend Susan Lawrence (any of her books are great for the entire family to read) The Long Ride Home and Atonement For Emily Adams are also great.
(And yes, this is a recommendation from our 14 year old) How to Live in a Car, Van or RV—And Get out of Debt, Travel and Find Freedom by Robert Wells
Dave and I’s Picks
The Mulligan and The Crooked Number by Nathan Jorgenson
Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly
The Lake House by Kate Morton ( a great audio option)
Any novel by Gill Paul (Historical Fiction) Another Woman’s Husband and No Place for a Lady are two of my favorites
The Hideaway by Lauren Dent
First Women by Kate Anderson Brower
Low Country Stranger by Ashley Farley ( This is book 2 in a series)
As always, if you want to learn more or have questions we love to hear from you. Add your comments here, text, email or send us a message on facebook. Make today a great one!
Angela and Dave Schrad
DIY to décor, get inspired by their ideas, resources and projects.