Reading: Lifelong Learning & Coping Gift

During these COVID days, we are so glad in our house to have our books. Reading gives us a chance to dive into worlds without virus. Other times our books remind and reassure us of other difficult and scary times that were survived. Our books are like trustworthy companions. I am usually reading a few books at once and choose the one that suits my mood at the moment. A novel is always by my bed. A few picture books are always on the coffee table. In the living room, I have a row of books stacked up on a tray atop a basket where I can see their titles from the couch.

When I hear about the challenges of homeschooling and remote learning, I honestly feel like telling both schools and parents this: shorten the school day lessons and allow time to instill in your child a love of reading that will accompany them throughout their lives. It doesn’t matter what they read, as long as they are reading. It will allow stress levels to fall for everyone in the picture: children, parents, and teachers. And it will give children the chance to gain a lifelong learning and coping tool.

A mini-column in the July 24 edition of The Week, a magazine I enjoy reading, made me want to jump up and down cheering: Yes!!! It is titled “How to get a 9-year-old to read”: “There’s something about turning 9 that makes kids stop reading,” said Meghan Moravcik Wahlbert in Lifehacker.com. “They’re busier, usually, and they start to see reading less as pure pleasure than as something that’s expected of them. You can keep kids reading by first never stopping reading to them yourself. Until they’re in eighth grade, they’ll be able to handle more complex material by listening than by reading, so choose books you like that’ll stretch them intellectually. …Offer to let them stay up later if they spend the time reading, and don’t discount any reading that they are doing.” She adds, “Comic books are books, you know.”

This morning, I re-read this new children’s book (Even though I am a grown-up, I still love reading pictures books. I love the illustrations and the wise and funny observations in the stories).

This painting in our kitchen by Suzanne de Cuir (one of Two in the World’s explorers/see “Suzanne’s Studio”) reminds me of this wonderful picture in Anna Strong. Sometimes I stare at Suzanne’s painting and make up a story about the woman hanging up her laundry, or I imagine I see a person at the shadowed window in the upper left corner of the painting.

So many picture books have additional historical notes, bibliographies and even activities included. Anna Strong: A Spy During the American Revolution includes a code list (so that readers can write a code) and instructions for making invisible ink.

Here’s my code: 253 + 94 = 491

De-coded it reads: Hope + Courage = Promise

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