I've been working on cultivating the quality of the reader that I would like to become. I've found that reading is contagious not only for those around me, but for myself. I've awakened an appetite for books that has kept me going through the first half of the year. Even though I wasn't reading for a certain number of books in a year, I've found time to read 25 in the second three months of 2018. That thrills my heart!
I've been curating my own library my whole life. My sister and I used to love to pretend that our room was a library and we could check out books from one another. We fell in love with reading because our parents were both readers. My dad was never as good at reading as my mom was, but what he lacked in skill he made up for in passion. And he was always encouraging us to read great books.
As I read through Leigh Bortin's book, The Core this month, I was struck with this idea about proficient readers:
I think I hit over one hundred books in my collection before I made it to college. Now I love to sit in my room full of books and read with my family. It doesn't take much to become a contagious reader. Here are some of my tips:
Read Books You Enjoy Reading
This may seem like a simple principle, but if you're enjoying a book, the odds are that you'll want to share that joy with others. If you can't put a book down or you're gasping every other page (as my daughter is currently doing with Torry Martin's Of Moose and Men, then you will pique curiosity. What could be so interesting about that book?
As you read favorite passages or episodes of a story, you'll want to quote it, retell it, or reread it to others so that they can enjoy it as well. When you offer these little morsels of literary goodness, it's like serving appetizers at a meal—they'll just be hungry for more.
If you're not reading books you love or if you're only reading books that you have to read for class, you'll get worn out from reading and pass on the idea that reading is drudgery. Who wants to imitate that?
Reading With Others
This month I was excited to get my homeschool mom's book club back up and running. We started off with The Core and we've already picked the next two books to read together this summer: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, and Practicing Affirmation. There is just something lovely about having friends to read great books with.
As simple as it sounds, sharing books with my kids is really one of my favorite ways to pass on my love of learning. My youngest and I just finished reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe together. While we've both read it before, it's the first book she needs to read for Challenge A. As we read through the book and took notes, I read most of the parts, and she read Lucy's lines. It was just so much fun. We talked about the parts that surprised us anew. There was something special about our time reading together that I will treasure forever.
Top Recommendations from my First 25
I won't share all of my thoughts about every book I've read this year, but I do want to highlight a few that have been stand-outs above the rest that I think you might enjoy:
Author I Can't Get Enough Of - Kate DiCamillo
My daughter had a book club with a couple of her friends and they read Because of Winn-Dixie. I still read a lot with her, and this was one of the first books she's ever read aloud to me and begged to keep reading. She generally wears out, but this book just held her heart and captured mine as well. As we were talking to a friend about this book, she told us that her favorite was Because of Winn-Dixie. We found it at Half-Price Books and read it in an afternoon. We were hooked. I took a couple more of her books on vacation with us, and I ended up reading The Magician's Elephant twice: once to my husband, and then again to my kids. If you haven't read any of her books, you need to get started. They are all fabulous.
Best Fiction Series - The Wilderking Trilogy by Johnathan Rogers
We found Jonathan Rogers' series at the Great Homeschool Convention among Andrew Peterson's Rabbit Room writers. We were looking for the next Wingfeather Saga, and this was an excellent contender. Again, I ended up reading this entire series twice over the last few months. It was so good, I couldn't put it down, and then the audio books (read by Jonathan Rogers himself) were so entertaining that I had to share them with my kids.
Most Inspiring: Of Moose and Men by Torry Martin
Seriously, I do not know how this guy is still alive, but I am so thankful he is. Torry Martin hilariously shares spiritual principles derived from episodes from his life. My kids and I heard him speak at a recent writing workshop and we were all inspired by his faith while laughing at his hilarious life experiences.
What books are you currently reading? Share your favorites in the comments, and I'll add them to my reading list!
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.