Monday, June 13, 2011

Opening the Door ~ Some Thoughts on Cultivating a Love of Reading and a Few Recommendations

 I grew up loving to read, stacks of books, late into the night. 

Before Elizabeth was born I taught high school English--especially literature, 
hoping to communicate some of the joy that books have brought me. 

And now, as a mom supervising my kids' incremental exposure 
to the mysteries and wonders of the world, 
books remain a primary means of opening the door 
to adventure, imagination, beauty, and critical thinking. 

 This is Van's bookshelf. 
We love all sorts of books, but for picture books 
I look for that perfect combination of great text and beautiful artwork.

Some of my favorite illustrators are 
Michael Hague, Barry Moser and Trina Schart Hyman.

I love Margaret Hodges' version of Saint George and the Dragon, illustrated by T. S. Hyman.

Other favorite picture books are Cynthia Rylant's When I Was Young in the Mountains
Barbara Cooney's Miss Rumphius, and Kim Lewis' Days on the Farm.

We read together every night before bed, and throughout the day as time allows. 
As they have grown in what they are able to understand 
some of our favorites have been Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows
C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan
and Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons.

The stories, even those words and details that go over their heads, 
fill them with all kinds of matter for play--
battles to fight, journeys to travel, discoveries to make.

I often overhear Jack or Elizabeth narrating his or her own play 
(or even narrating something they are playing together),

 "...and then, in the dark of night, the wicked dragon swooped down and snatched up the knight...."

They listen to me read as much as I will and then they listen to audio books. 
I think this is how they've been perfecting their English accents.

You can download free audiobooks from these sites:

(Charlotte's Web, read by E. B. White)

(they have The Wizard of Oz and Kipling's Just So Stories, among others)

(everything from Little Women and Peter Pan 
to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and The Poems of Robert Frost)

How do you cultivate a love of reading?
What are some of your favorite books, illustrators and resources?

Happy reading!


  1. Thank you for sharing the links for the audio books! These will come in handy with my little guys!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. We have so enjoyed going through the Jesus Storybook Bible with JJ!! Thank you for those links. My hope and prayer is to further cultivate my love for reading this summer. Your post has inspired me more!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...