Thursday, April 26, 2018

Addicted to Reading

Isn't it funny how you see your kids do something, but it's something you would do too (or have done), so sometimes you give them a free pass to get away with it? One of those "do as I say, not as I do" moments.

Maybe I should explain,

I am an avid reader. I always have been and I don't see that changing anytime soon. If there is something with print in front of me, I will read it. My favorites are dramatic novels, such as murder mysteries or love stories or something with a plot that just grabs and holds my attention so that I don't want to put it down. I feel like I might read a bit more than the average bibliophile, but I'm also somewhat speedy, so I can go a little quicker than most.

Anyway, my oldest daughter has recently taken off with her reading. When I say taken off, I mean she is soaring. Second grade has given her literary power. She is devouring piles upon piles of juvenile fiction (she's 8, so I'm making sure it is still age appropriate), but she is flying through book after book after book.

I initially had plans of reading novels together with her. Not necessarily read-alouds (we do those too), but more like our own little book club of two, each reading the book on our own time and then discussing the characters and plot and setting and how it relates to us or things in the world.

Well, she went through a couple American Girl books and passed them on to me. I read the first one and haven't had time to get to the next. Then she read another. And another. And moved on to a different series. Now my pile of books to read to catch up to her is growing probably much faster than I can keep up with.

We go to the library about once a week. She loves books in a series (me too! who doesn't enjoy falling in love with characters and reading about their adventures over and over again?) and we are constantly putting in requests for the next book in the series she is reading.

I couldn't be more proud or excited to share my love of reading with my daughter.

However, all of the reading comes at a cost. Basically at the cost of everything: food, chores, sleep, etc. I'm constantly telling her to put the book down and tend to her responsibilities. We have a "No toys at the dinner table" policy and I've had to apply that to books now. She will bring a book to read while she plays outside. She will try to multitask cleaning her room, holding a book in one hand and absent-mindedly grabbing things with the other (not very effective, just so you know).

I love how engrossed she gets in a story. I mean, I can completely relate. Those characters get stuck in my head and I find myself thinking about them long after I've put the book down. But at some point I have to take the book away and remind her to focus on the current task at hand. The book isn't going anywhere.

The latest battle has been bedtime. Isn't bedtime always a battle? She will curl up with a book and set to reading. I'll remind her when to turn lights out. I'll set her timer and double check that she knows when it goes off, it really means lights out. Then I come back to her room a little bit later, after the timer has gone off, and she'll beg me to be able to finish the last few pages of a chapter, or just read one more page to find out what happens to the character.

What can I say? I try to hold firm. I give all the reasons: bedtime is important. Her body needs its rest. She'll be tired for school tomorrow. Often I cave in and let her read just a tiny bit more, and then a tiny bit more. Or I'll ignore her light on because I know exactly what she's doing. Eventually I have to hold firm and make her put the book down, though.

Honestly, I can't resist the literary plea to find out what happens myself. Far too often I stay up much later than I should just to finish what I'm reading. I might be exceptionally tired the next day, but it is so worth it. I know she feels that way too, so sometimes I look the other way when she is reading, feeling the pride that comes with watching my child enjoy something I do too.