Monday, October 27, 2008

Read to Me

Reading: Time well-spent with a child and a gift they'll cherish forever

Those who know me, know I'm a huge proponent of children reading (and really, just reading in general, regardless of age.) I grew up in a household where, until I was 16, we didn't own a television and my parents encouraged us to read. Our home was filled with books and both of my parents read to us as children. When you visit my home, what stands out are all of the books on a broad range of subjects. Books are the bedrock of a well-informed, intelligent civilization. Maybe that sounds elitist to some, but I truly believe that.

Books big and books little with bugs big and penguins little and lots and lots and lots of big words
for lots and lots and lots of little people. Books! Books! Books! Yeah, books!

That's why, in this internet world full of gadget craziness where soundbites rule and people get less of their information from reading and more of it from cable news shows, I'm always gratified when I see people reading. And I'm especially gratified when I see kids reading. Every time I see a kid with a book, I stop and talk to them for a few minutes. If their parent is with them, I thank them for encouraging their kid to read. I believe reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give to children and I applaud parents who give their kids books.

While I was out shooting pictures for yesterday's Two Things Challenge: Big / Little, I went into Border's Books and Music and took these pictures of parents (big), kids (little), and books. (And yes, I asked and received permission to post these photos.) I also singled out some children's book titles that feature the words big and little. I know these photos would work well for the upcoming City Daily Photo theme, but I couldn't wait.

Whether it's reading about green eggs and ham or princesses, quantum mechanics or the politics of hope,
the effect is the same. Words and ideas and our ability to understand and articulate them empower us.
So, get up from your computer and go read a book! ;-)

If you have children in your life--whether your own or others--please read to them or give them books. In addition to your time, it's one of the greatest gifts you'll ever give them.

P.S. A couple of you emailed me and said that the new "embedded below the page" comments set-up I had (thanks to Blogger who changed it without asking my permission), was making it difficult for some of you to leave comments. I've changed the settings so it's back to its original full page set-up. Hope this makes it easier for folks to comment. Thanks for stopping by!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 10/08


Virginia said...

As a former teacher I will add that the AMOUNT OF READING A CHILD DOES EVERY DAY is the single greatest factor for reading improvement. In third grade 90 min is recommended. That can include in class text but reading at home is essential!!!

That said, I started hyperventilating at the sight of 3 books I have not read. May hit a bookstore today myself.

Oh and DC, how do you get 2 photos side by side on Blogger. I need help with that. Thanks!

GRHS Class of 68 said...

I love your big/little. I especially love the comments you made about your upbringing. In a home that was filled with books and encouragement to increase your knowledge and intellect by being read to and reading on your own. Is it any wonder you continue to offer so much good to so many people. Thanks for your visual contributions.
Tante Hazel

D.C. Confidential said...

VJ: Thank you for this ringing endorsement! I heartily agree.

Aunt Hazel: Thank you for this. You know, I should have added that I am grateful my grandparents (your mom and dad) gave us a gift subscription to National Geographic every year I was growing up. I love that magazine! It opened up the world to me and is one more example of the value of reading.

Jackie said...

I love that top picture - how wonderful.

When I was a health visitor we used to give a bag of books to parents at their child's 8 month check. It's never too early to get kids loving books and seeing them as fun!

Thanks for commenting on my Glasgow DP blog the other day - I'm just getting round to return visits now! I did appreciate your comment :)

D.C. Confidential said...

Jackie: I really like that picture, too! I love seeing parents reading to their kids. Whenever a friend has a baby, I give books as a first gift. Like you, I think it's never too early to start them reading.

Thanks for stopping by. It's always nice to see you here and I enjoy my visits to GDP.

Professor said...

As a high school English teacher I will totally echo and support what you have to say! these are marvelous pictures- wonderful.

Maya said...

Reading is fundamental. :-)

I, too, grew up without a TV until I was older (10 I think). We had books everywhere on every imaginable subject. I read most of the classics as a child because I would just pull a book from one of the many shelves. Many of them were British, so I still want to spell words the "wrong" way according to my teachers growing up. Whatever. ;-)

I love these shots of the kids. So spontaneous. Did you take them and then get permission? They don't seem posed at all! Very nicely done.

D.C. Confidential said...

Prof: Thank you! And for the record, in addition to the influence of my parents and grandparents, my English teachers in high school and professors in college also inspired me! Mrs. Oldroyd at Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, Ms. March at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, and Dr. Werner at George Mason University, in particular, come to mind. So, thank you to those of you who teach and inspire us. It may not always feel like it, I'm sure, but you do make a difference in our lives!

Maya: Reading is fundamental! We've seen the effects in the world when we have leaders who don't read and it's a disaster!

As for the pictures, I find shooting first and asking permission after is best. I took this picture of the mom and her kids first, then walked over, handed her my card, explained who I was and what I was doing, and asked if I could use the picture I'd just taken--which I showed to her. She said yes. Had she said no, I'd have deleted it there.