It is time to celebrate – my little guy has hit a huge milestone. He is reading!
When he first got started, he struggled a little bit with putting together the letters and sounds. If he had been one of the first few of my children, I probably would have worried terribly about why he was struggling to learn something that was such an essential building block for his future. I would have stayed awake at night building elaborate blocks, flashcards and games to help him understand it.
But as the youngest child, born to a mom who has already been through the beginning reader steps with five other ones, he has the benefit of having a parent who has learned over the years that each child will learn at their own pace. When Finn was ready and everything clicked, I knew that he would take off reading and quickly develop a passion for it. And that is just what he did.
Not only is he reading age-appropriate books, but he has also taken to reading the newspaper. That child can rattle off a synopsis of the world news better than Peter Jennings. Plus I get the added benefit of hearing his personal thoughts on each story. I swear sometimes his commentary makes me wonder if perhaps we should use the common sense of a seven year old to solve some of the big problems.
To celebrate Finn’s reading accomplishments, I offered to take him to the bookstore to buy a special book. I visualized writing a special note to him on the inside of it so he could always remember his first “big boy” chapter book. I completed expected him to jump out of the chair and race to the door in grateful anticipation. What I got instead was a child leaning back in his chair saying, “No thanks Mom, I will just download one on my Nook.” Huh?
Technology-savvy might not be a phrase that describes me, but I am well aware of the new trend to download books on all of these new electronic advices. I personally still enjoy holding a book in my hand. Listening to Finn tell me he would get one on his Nook, it suddenly hit me that someday we might have children who don’t know how to turn the pages of a book. In the future, will people think that the normal way to turn to the next page of a book is to swipe your finger across a computer screen?
Maybe I am weird, but I love the smell of the pages of a new book. I don’t know of any computer device that gives off the smell of fresh paper and ink. I have shelves lined with my favorite books with hard covers. Then I have a cabinet filled with my favorite paperbacks and a stack by my bed of my “will read someday soon” pile. What do you get when you download a book? Just spaces taken up on your computer until you delete it. Did you know that you can even check out a book from the library to download on your electronic device and after three weeks it automatically disappears? You don’t even have to return anything anymore.
As much as I love to read, the moments that I actually get to read are short and priceless. Little bits of “me” time that I try and grab each day. A few minutes when I escape into a hot bath, those brief moments by a pool or at the beach in the summer when everyone is getting along (brief being the key word) and of course, the few seconds before I fall asleep when I try and unwind by reading a few pages. Inevitably I read about two or three pages and then wake up in a puddle of drool using my book as a pillow.
If you notice, most of my reading time is somehow tied to water-bath water, pool water, drool, etc. The pages of the books I read show the wear and tear of getting wet. Do you know what happens if you get a Nook, Kindle, or any of the other high tech reading gadgets wet? Let me just say that they do not dry out as well as the pages of a book. Come to think of it, if you get one of your electronic devices wet, you might as well kiss it goodbye.
So I took Finn to the bookstore and made him pick out an actual page-turning book. His future might hold books that are read on some electronic advice, but I will always be his old-fashioned mom reminding him to, “Turn the pages of a real book instead of tapping on your Nook.”