The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. – Elizabeth Hardwick
Kids need to read, and have read to them, good, gutsy fiction! And more is better.
What is good, gutsy fiction? So glad you asked! Of course, you are not required to agree with my specific choices of fiction reading material… and naturally that’s perfectly okay. Yet I will take a stand that good, gutsy fiction provides us with exposure to challenging experiences and deep emotions of ALL kinds as well as a great story line.
What better way to ‘try on’ someone else’s experience than from the distance of fiction, experiencing a book that brings you to tears of grief and tears of joy, challenges you with ethical issues allowing you to explore your values, and describes different locations around the world in a way that makes them very real and present?
In a High School English class we were required to read A Death In The Family by James Agee. This is not a book with a lot of action. As the title makes obvious, it explores death… in an ordinary family in the early part of the 20th Century in Knoxville, TN.
Agee gently, yet powerfully, provides the perspective of the experience from various characters. I hated the sadness it provoked as I put myself in others shoes. Thought I was at risk of truly getting swept away by my feelings. Yet I learned otherwise. Instead, I grew… I learned I could move through intense feelings, I learned others hold different perspectives around the same event in some surprising ways. Continue reading
I’m a reader. I LOVE reading! Books are full of stories. Stories are full of adventure. And adventure is what a kid lusts for (even the so-called shy ones who might deny it). With hardly any encouragement at all… books and their stories can inspire wonderful, magical play!
And that’s the problem with only reading to your children at bedtime. (You ARE reading at bedtime, aren’t you??) Don’t get me wrong, bedtime is a wonderful time for reading. It just A time for reading. After all… inspiring rowdy play right before sleep makes little sense, and while reading can be a very calming experience… providing an opportunity to talk about a variety of things… it can also be an experience that calls for ACTION!