Friday, May 15, 2015

Raising Readers: My own book-ish childhood

As I prepare for my oldest child to turn five next week, I'm going to be posting a few things related to children and reading. Let's start by looking back in time...

My first Christmas. 
I was that kid.

You know the one -- the introverted girl whose closest sibling is 6 years younger. The one who would prefer to spend her summer on a blanket in the yard reading Nancy Drew or The Babysitters Club or The Black Stallion instead of playing sports or going to the beach

My birthday stash of books. I think I was about 8.
Please ignore the glasses and clothes of the 90s... 

The one who the librarians knew by name, AND knew where I was in a book series and always had the next book ready for me when I came in on Fridays. Oh and the one who would be dropped off by mom at the library on said Fridays while mom went to the grocery store.

My home library used to be housed in this end of the township hall.
The space you see is literally all the bigger it is. A new building was
built after I'd left for college, and I've never been inside. 

It was a glorious childhood.

Yes I spent time playing. Granted, my pretending often revolved around books -- the neighbor-girl and I riding our bikes around, playing Nancy Drew (me) and George (her - though she insisted on being called Georgie). My favorite animals were wolves (Julie of the Wolves) and dolphins (Island of the Blue Dolphins) and horses (Misty of Chincoteague, The Black Stallion). I even went through a phase of spying on my little brother because of Harriet the Spy (I recently found an old journal of mine from probably 3rd grade where I detailed the [boring] things I saw).

Yes we had a tv with an antenna, and a VHS player. I had a childhood that included the weekly Sunday Night Family Night movie on ABC, classic Disney movies, and Saturday morning cartoons. One thing that set us apart though was we had no phone. Our house was almost a half mile off the road and it was too expensive to run a landline. So we did without until my junior year of high school, when cell phones started becoming more available.

A lot of posts have been floating around Facebook recently about the freedom we had as children of the 80s and early 90s, and how sad it is that our kids don't have much of that same freedom today. I do miss the days of reading the day away outside without direct supervision. I do miss the days of trusting the people in our small town with a Mayberry-ish atmosphere.

But wishing for the past won't change our present. I can still raise readers who love where they are in life, within the constraints of today's world. Over the next week or two I'll post a few things that have worked so far in our family.

What was your book-ish childhood like?

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