Cultivating a Garden of Bookworms

Monday, December 10, 2018
It is that time of year - the tree is decorated and glowing and the lists of wishes and dreams are growing. Not all of our children can write yet, but the elder children help the younger ones create lists of thoughtfully chosen gifts. Even the youngest now knows how to say "book" and there are several books on each child's list this year. The younger children enjoy looking at picture books and being read to, the older children enjoy reading independently and discussing books with one another or with the adults in their lives. Teachers and other parents often ask "how do you spark that love of reading in your children?". I certainly am not taking all the credit for their literary passions, but here are a few tips and tricks I think have led them down the path of becoming bookworms:

4K Reading Log
Read for Fun - Most schools send home a reading log (older children can complete on their own, and younger children count each book read to them and tally up the total each month) of one sort or another. We consider this required reading. When the log is filled, we still continue reading - just for fun! We don't want reading to be a 'Have To' - at our house it's a 'Want To'!

Christmas Wish List 2018
Keep Books Handy - We have books in the bathroom that can be read while in the tub. We have books in the car to read while we wait or on our way to different activities. We have books in the diaper bag to read in the waiting room at the Doctor/Dentist/Chiropractic Office. We have books in our bedrooms to read before bed or read before breakfast. We don't have much technology in the house, but it's safe to say there are books stashed in every nook and cranny.

Discuss the Books - You don't have to be part of a book club to discuss a book. You don't even have to have read the book - just be prepared to ask questions and listen to the answers. Once in a while I'll read a book one of the older children has recommended to me, but I usually just enjoy their enthusiasm as they tell me about the adventures of this character or that one. Likewise, they enjoy listening as I highlight a particular book I'm reading, or introduce them to a new author friend. In fact, I recently told them about Fiona Ingram's blog tour with WOW! and they were so excited they asked if they could put her books on their Christmas list.

A B & C visiting with Bev at LaDeDa Books 2017
Visit the Books - Some of my favorite childhood memories were had at the local libraries and bookstores. I want to pass that joy along to my children. We visit LaDeDa books and beans quite often and they agree it's the most magical bookstore in Manitowoc County. Some of our best friends own bookstores, work at the library, or meet us at the library for events and fun! That isn't to say we don't enjoy a good walk around the zoo or frolic at the park, but we absolutely adore our books and local booksellers!

I've also included my children in my love of book reviewing - they get really excited when they are asked to read and review a book that will appear on my blog. I understand that's not something everybody can do, but if you happen to have a blog, it's something to consider.

And now we need to discuss the downside to cultivating a garden of bookworms...

Bed Time

Delphine Reading in Bed
Bedtime with bookworms can be quite a challenge. If you turn out the lights, they'll find a flashlight, or lay in the doorway to catch the glow of the hallway light. A quick trip to the bathroom turns into an extra few chapters. There are no feet quite as quiet as that of a bookworm sneaking out of bed in search of a few more pages and more adventures! I laugh at the irony of it, but I've actually said some of the following out loud:

"If I catch you reading you'll have extra chores tomorrow"

"Absolutely no more reading today - hand over those books before you go to bed"

"There had better not be a book under those covers - if there is, you're grounded"

I keep a straight face with the children, but I laugh on the inside about punishing them for the very thing I'm guilty of doing. Once you bite into a great book, it's so hard to stop - says this mommy bookworm!

That begs the question(s):

--Who helped cultivate your love of reading?

--How have you inspired your children and family when it comes to reading?

--How do you get your littles to stop reading and go to bed on time?

--What's the name of your favorite local bookstore? (feel free to give them a shout out - or post a link to their website)

Thanks for being here today & always!

Crystal is a secretary, council secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children (Carmen 11, Andre 10, Breccan 5, Delphine 3, and baby Eudora who somehow turned 1 this fall), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!


Ashley said...

Crystal, what a wonderful message! You're so right about "once you bite into a great book, it's so hard to stop...." Congratulations on your dedication to cultivating a garden of bookworms. Your kids are very lucky. ~ Ashley Memory, a fan

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo said...

Crystal, your kids are adorable (and super lucky to have you as a mom). It's funny--I don't think I've ever stopped to consider where my love for reading came from. Maybe it started in elementary school with those Scholastic book order forms. :) I think the fact that I read every day is an inspiration to my kids, along with their memories of when they were younger and I read to them every night. We go to the library often and, like you, I give them my full attention when they're discussing books they read in school or discovered on their own. It's definitely paid off!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Crystal ~ I love all the pics of your kids! They are adorable. My father read the classics to me every night, and I fell in love with books like A Christmas Carol, Treasure Island, Peter Rabbit, Huckleberry Finn, One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Hans Brinker, Little Women, etc. The stories opened up my world, and I don't think I would've ever considered becoming a writer if my dad hadn't read to me. We have our differences, but he loves to read to this day and gave me the gift of reading. I wish I had kids to read to! But I do give books out as gifts whenever I can. Currently, my favorite bookstore is a booth at the Encino Farmer's Market. The book selection is fantastic, they cost less than a dollar, and the purchases support an adult day care program for seniors with dementia. Total win-win. I have such a long list of books I want to read, I always find some on my list. Thanks for the heartwarming post! :)

Margo Dill said...

We have been keeping a book or two in the car. This works well. Katie will often just start reading to me. We read before bed too; it’s usually me reading to her. What I need to do in 2019 is find another time to read to myself besides before bed because I fall asleep!

Wendy Brown-Baez said...

I am one of those kids who had a flashlight to keep reading and now I write books! And teach writing workshops! Our congregation had a book drive for the local elementary school and the kids were thrilled to receive their own books. Some had never owned a book before. Spread the joy!

RitualPen said...

Hey Crystal. Nice blog!! Regarding Bev at LaDeDa Books .....I found an article, might have been in Seahafer, about the books she has written, and normally I squirrel everything away in either a bookmark, or reading list, you know? ...but this slipped away - was wondering if you might have it tucked away somewhere?
Thanks so much,
Maribeth in Two Rivers !!

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