To whom or what would you accredit to fostering your lifelong love of reading/writing?
My parents are both avid readers, so a lot of the credit must go to them. They read to me from the day I was born and taught me to read well before the average age. I’m an only child and we lived out in the country, so when I wasn’t at school I was often both a bit bored and a bit lonely. Reading about my favourite characters having grand adventures solved both problems.
How has your perspective on reading changed (if at all) now that you are a parent reading to your child?
Ooh. Great question. Mostly my perspective is the same as it’s always been: reading should be done for fun or to learn something; if you can do both at the same time, perfect! However, since we discovered that Boo is autistic, my husband (also a book lover) and I have been using children’s books to pique Boo’s interest in learning to communicate both verbally and socially. So now we’re not only looking for books that will entertain him, but books that will help him want to communicate and that may foster a better understanding of a world filled with people who don’t think like he does. Which I suppose is merely an extension of my general perspective…
Can you describe what makes an ideal reading spot for you (and Boo)?
Most of the time I try to read to Boo face-to-face so he can see my mouth and facial expressions, should he choose to pay attention to them. Any old spot on the floor will do for that. But given a preference, I love reading snuggled up on a comfy couch with him on my lap with a favourite picture book spread out in front of us. If you could transport said couch to a beautiful ocean beach and place it in the shade of a canopy (preferably with a margarita nearby), that would truly be my ideal spot.
How would you finish the sentence: Reading is…
a passageway to worlds and perspectives different than your own.
What advice would you give to teachers to help encourage children to read?
Reading needs to be fun, or kids won’t want to do it. Children need to be allowed and able to read about things that interest them, while also being encouraged to expand their horizons and try something new. Equally important is that the teacher loves reading and is honestly engaged and in love with the books he or she is assigning. No matter how good a book is, if the teacher doesn’t love it and doesn’t thoroughly understand it, it’s unlikely be a great experience for their class.