The Reading Challenge


My parents gave me a great gift when they encouraged my love of learning from an early age. Our home was always full of books. My dad loves theology so there were mountains of books on the Bible. My mom is more of a fiction person like me. Dad was a great model of what a life long learner looks like, and it was clear that they both were passionate about reading.  Mom helped me through my struggles with dyslexia even before she knew that I had it. She took something that was naturally difficult for me to learn and helped make it into a life long passion. My husband’s home was similar. in fact we joke that being bibliophile is a genetic condition in both families all the way back to the great grandparents.

My love was waning of late. After long days of teaching and reading books over and over again; I felt like I was losing my passion a bit. Add an active two year old, two dogs, four geese, and a husband to the mix, and well I’m short on time. Honestly, many evenings during the last school year were spent vegetating in front of the television or reading things that HAD to be read. Not only is this unhealthy it’s also not at all productive. Granted we do tend to watch a lot of documentaries, but it’s not the same as reading. I will say the two exceptions to my reading dry spell were blogs and online news. I could devour those for hours at a time.

Just before summer break, something changed. My husband and I saw Gifted Hands on Netflix. It’s about Ben Carson. Yes, the one running for president. I’m not making any political comment for or against the man, but his early life story was very good. His mother, an illiterate housekeeper, forced both Ben and his brother to read two books a week and give her a report on each. They were unaware that she couldn’t even read the reports. Both of her children grew up to be successful adults. Ben’s brother became an engineer, and Ben became the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.

This gave my husband and me an idea. We want our son to know that we value reading and education. It should be obvious seeing that I teach, but it occurred to us that he didn’t get to see us live it out as much as we would like. We agreed to both make an effort to read at least one book a week but preferably two once summer started. So far things are going well, my husband is reigniting his passion for war fiction, and I’m trying to spice things up with a variety of books. I’ve read everything from Beekeeping for Dummies to the newest Jan Karon novel. I’m going to reread Look Homeward, Angel next.

We’re also reading even more to our son, and I’ve been working on some basic phonics skills with him during our days off together this summer. I’ll post more about what I’m doing for that soon. He’s only two so I’m not ridged with his “school” time, but if it’s fun and he’s enjoying it, I don’t think it’s going to hurt him.

What are your favorite books or genres? How do you foster a love of reading in your children? Do you often have reading dry spells?


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