“If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is 5 years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of brain food! Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week, and the child’s hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales and stories. A kindergarten student who has not been read to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.” (USDOE, 1999)
I have long loved books. I don’t know when it started but I do remember that when I was younger my parents had to ban books at the dinner table because all I wanted to do was read, read, read. Forget talking; just let me immerse myself into fictional worlds and I am happy.
My Dad was so worried about my reading habits, which tended towards Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew that, when I was 13, he made up a list of books that I had to choose from. No more Sweet Valley High (and their adorable blond twins and their antics) or Nancy Drew (will she survive yet another scrape!?). Instead he had books like “Little Women” and “Les Miserables“. For some reason, I chose “Les Miserables” first and man oh man, I remember it to this day. I LOVE that book. Other noteable books from that summer were “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Animal Farm.” “Animal Farm” especially made a big impression on me and continues to, to this day, as I view the political environment of my city, state and nation.
My reading obsession continued throughout highschool. My poor parents were forever taking me and my brother through awesome scenery and I refused to look up from my books. “Anne-Marie, do you see Yosemite!? Can you look up, please!?” I’m still that way on a car ride; Chris drives and I am head down in emails, magazines and books. I have a Nook now and that is addicting. I’m reading the new Ann Patchett book, “State of Wonder” right now (along with a couple adultish Nancy Drew type thrillers). You can always see what I’m reading now on the ‘About’ page here.
We are hoping to introduce Jamisen to books and the love of reading early. As you can see, he’s totally into books and his favorite book readers are his Grandpa and his Daddy. Of course, I’m not taking it personally. He really seems to like the colorful books – anything by Dr. Suess books and anything that has a finger puppet associated with it.
It is so fun to introduce him to books, words and imagination. When I’m feeding him, I have this entire made up story that I tell him (Captain Jamisen and his Brave Warriors and Maidens Sail the High Seas!) and every feeding, we do one more adventure. So far, we’ve fought sea crackens (giant squid), had a horrible storm where Captain Jamisen bravely lashed himself to the steering wheel, and have navigated a coral and seahorse laden barrier (by speaking ‘seahorse’ese’ natch). I have no idea what he’s taking in but it sure is fun to come up with these tales for him. If you watch the video below (email viewers, click through here to see the video), he certainly seems to do a great job following the plot line along and talking back.
Interesting aside, this graph has a lot of interesting information about librarians around the world. Even today, public libraries have over 3 times the impact on literacy and reading than Amazon.com. We’re looking forward to taking Jamisen to our local public library for Story Time when he is older to continue his love of books, imagination and reading.