Tuesday, September 6, 2016

For Love of Reading

My Personal Library (c) Wednesday Elf
Reading is a pleasure beyond words

I have been a voracious reader all my life. I read some EVERY day, and some days ALL DAY! 

I'm one of those readers who will read the labels on the condiment bottles on the table if there is nothing else to read when eating alone. I LOVE to read!

My Thoughts on the Importance of Reading...

It seems to me that the love of reading comes from nurturing by those who also love reading. If you read often, and read to your children, they will come by it naturally and enjoy books as much as you do. A child who is never read to seldom finds pleasure in reading and is not a reader as an adult.

I remember talking to a young neighbor back in the 1970's who was a kindergarten teacher working in an inner-city school. Her students came from a very poor area where books were not a necessity in the home. The first day of school she had placed a pencil and a sheet of paper on each desk and, as class began, instructed the children to 'pick up the red pencil'. Many of the children did not know the color RED, and my teacher friend said it was a direct result of never having been read to; never having been exposed to the basics of letters, numbers, colors, and shapes learned through books for children.

Enjoying Books at an Early Age...Beginning with Being 'Read To' by Mom

Read Together Mom and Boy Tshirts and Gifts Postcard
THE love of reading was instilled in me at an early age. I can't remember a time before books. One of my favorite early childhood memories is of living in Williamson, NY in an old country house with a coal-fired furnace, it's wintertime, and my mother is standing on the floor register where the hot air is coming up from the furnace. All 4 of us kids are gathered around the register, and mom is reading to us. 

We spent many happy cold winter days around our little warm spot in the living room listening fascinated while mom read to us. She loved books; she read about 3 books a week herself, and read to us children every single day. She had a special knack of making even the simplest children's story come alive, no matter how many times we heard it. Later, her grandchildren loved having her read to them the same way we did as children.

Reading to the Children

Personal Photo (c) Wednesday Elf

WHEN I became a mother, it was as natural as breathing to read to my children from the time they were born and Christmas and birthday gifts always included a book or two.

Over time we ended up with a large collection of children's books. As the children grew up, some of each child's favorite books went to them to read to THEIR children, and some have been kept in my "grandma box" for visits. The rest went to my artist daughter to use as reference material for her artwork, and because she loves them all.



Chris, Age 11
MY oldest son was diagnosed with Amyblyopia (the Lazy Eye) at age 6, just as he was learning to read. By the time he went through the process of 'correction' (wearing a patch on the good eye to allow the 'bad' eye to become stronger), his reading skills were behind his classmates and reading was more of a struggle and a 'have-to' for school, not something you did for fun & enjoyment. I worried about it for awhile, until I talked to a very wise grade school English teacher who told me to stop worrying, and to never nag him about it. She said he would begin to read for pleasure at his own pace, in his own time. Something would get him interested and there would be no turning back. She was right, although, except for car magazines and such, he didn't really begin his reading enjoyment until he met his future wife, who loved books. Kathie got him interested in reading for pleasure, beginning with her collection of Dean Koontz novels, and today he reads at least some every day.

Facts about Amblyopia

FYI - in case you're curious

Amblyopia is the medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye. This condition is also sometimes called lazy eye. For more information, visit the National Eye Institute of NIH.

Christopher's Favorite Childhood Book

Available on Amazon

Seuss's intention was clear: to teach children to read in a way that is both entertaining and educational. Ridiculous rhymes grab a child's attention and they become so amused and enchanted, they may not even notice they are learning to read!

Today, Grown-up Chris Likes the Dirk Pitt Series

Havana Storm on Amazon

Chris has become a fan of the Clive Cussler novels. This is the 5th book by Cussler, with his son, Dirk Cussler as co-author. Now we know where Clive got the name Dirk for his main character in his Dirk Pitt adventures!

“A new Clive Cussler novel is like a visit from your best friend.”—Tom Clancy


MY youngest son, Greg, also loves reading and has a wide range of interests in both fiction and nonfiction. Some books take him a long time to finish because he likes to take notes, and reread passages, and 'think' about it.

Fiction books he usually reserves for reading at bedtime, simply for pleasure.

One of his favorite things to do is to read a book along with someone else, because he loves having book 'discussions'.  

Tyler & David - Reading Time

Greg has also begun a family 'reading time' each evening with his 7 and 2 year old boys as a way to promote reading and to instill a 'quiet time' between playtime and bedtime. It helps them wind down to a calmer state before going to bed.

Greg's Very Favorite Childhood Book


The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree was Greg's very favorite childhood story. We read it every single night for at least 3 years. He had it completely memorized and could "read" it to you by age 3 from just looking at the pictures on each page.

I'd saved this book for him over the years, and eventually he read it to his boys, who loved it just as much.

Three terrified little bears explore the inside of a mysterious old tree and go into, up, through, over, down, and out.

"Up the tree, down the tree" was Greg's favorite line...

Greg's #1 Favorite Book Today


Available on Amazon
Taking top place in Greg's library today is this book by Jack Canfield. Greg has read and reread this book, and purchased copies for siblings and friends several times.  Greg is probably Canfield's biggest fan.

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

This book is a simple guide on how to transform your life and encourages you to take 100% responsibility for your life. Canfield uses 64 success principles to explain "How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be"


Kimberly Reading Under the Hair Dryer
Then there is my daughter, Kimberly, who has been known to read 3-4 books simultaneously, and somehow keep track of each story. One book will be by her bed, one in the living room, one in the car in case she has to wait somewhere, and one always in her purse to read lunchtimes at work. She is one of the best readers, and the fastest, I have ever seen.

Kim taught herself to read before she was four years old and I didn't even realize it until I tried to 'hurry' through a bedtime book one night, skipping a sentence here and there and Kim stopped me with "Mom, you missed this part"... and proceeded to read it to me word by word! I was so amazed at her reading ability, mostly self-taught (with a lot of regular exposure to books) that at age 5, before starting school, a neighbor & former teacher informally gave Kim a reading & comprehension test she'd used in her teaching years. The results were even more amazing than the day I learned she was reading on her own. I was told that Kim could read "virtually anything", and that she comprehended through the 5th grade level at age 5. And the only reason her comprehension skills were limited at all was due to not being old enough to have heard the word or had experience yet with a described situation.

Dick and Jane Book for Children (Source)

Kimberly Teaches Little Brother to Read

At age 7, Kimberly's second grade classroom was replacing some of their books used for teaching reading and were disposing of a bunch of "Dick & Jane" books. Kim asked to have them, brought them home, and over the next few weeks used them to teach her 4-year-old brother to read. She would have made a great teacher if her natural artistic talent hadn't led her down a different path in life.

Kim's Favorite Book as a Child - A Standard Favorite of all Children


The Cat in the Hat
He may be an old standby, but he never lets us down. When in doubt, turn to the story of the cat that transformed a dull, rainy afternoon into a magical and just-messy-enough adventure.

This story is just as enchanting to children today as it was to Kim as a little girl more than 30 years ago.


Kim Grew Up to Become a Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fan

As an adult, Kimberly is still a voracious reader. She reads anything and everything, but her favorite genre is Sci-Fi, along with her husband and brother. Particular favorites include Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings has been a favorite in Kim's library for many years.

What fantasy fan hasn't read this 'gospel of the genre'!

And Now the Grandchildren Love to Read Too...

Jacob Reading - Nick with Toy

By the time the grandchildren came along, my 'Grandma Toy Box' held a bunch of children's books, as well as favorite toys saved over the years the children were growing up. 

The boys love the books as much as the toys.

Goodnight Moon on Amazon
The Grandsons Love Goodnight Moon

This wonderful story is well on its way to becoming a 'Classic' in my opinion. I wish I had known about it when my children were small, but since I discovered it, I have purchased it for my grandchildren and as gifts for every child on my gift list, and a copy resides in my "Grandma Toy Box".

Random Thoughts on Reading

by Marie Clapper

Marie Clapper, former Publisher of "Crafts 'n Things" magazine, wrote in her wonderful One Last Thought ... column in the January 1996 issue, a few of her Random Thoughts. This one on Reading I thought was very special, and is reprinted here with Ms. Clapper's sweet permission. (See marie.clapper.com (no www) for her current writing)

Another Way to Say, "I Love You"

"From the time my kids could sit up, I've read to them. Cleaning, cooking, -- they could wait, but reading was a must. Children learn from hearing books, newspapers, and even craft magazines read to them. They learn words, ideas, that knowledge has value, and that the reader really likes the person she's reading to."

EveryDay Matters

Marie has also written an absolutely marvelous book called "EveryDay Matters: One Woman Savors Ordinary Days in Extraordinary Ways", which is an account of her true adventures with her husband, Lyle, and their blended family of six.

No matter what your status in life, Marie's stories of her personal experiences in life, told with humor, openness and warmth on every page, will fill you with joy and hope. A delightful READ!

And Now... MY Reading Favorites


A few of my favorite mystery authors

Mad About Mysteries

My personal library contains over 800 books in a wide variety of areas, but a large percentage of them are Mysteries and Suspense stories. I have quite a number of collections of favorite mystery authors, some of which are shown in this picture. Top favorites include Dick Francis, Dell Shannon (aka, Elizabeth Linington), Richard Lockridge, and Sue Grafton.

I'm a Huge Dick Francis Fan - I have every one of his books!

I've been a fan of Dick Francis since the publication of his first book Dead Cert in 1962. I have every one of his books in my collection and reread them often. Francis' wife did the research for his books for many years. After her death, Francis wrote in conjunction with his son, Felix. I never tire of his stories, no matter how many times I've read them.

Note: Sadly, Dick Francis died in February 2010 (at age 89). It is interesting to note that he was born on Halloween (October 31, 1920) and died on Valentine's Day (February 14, 2010). His last few books were written in conjunction with his son, Felix, and now my dearest hope has been realized. Felix Francis is continuing in the vein of his dad's writing. I DO so love the Dick Francis style of stories.

Latest Dick Francis Style Book, by son Felix Francis

Available on Amazon

Books Make Great Gifts!

Giving a book as a gift is a very special thing. From tiny children through adulthood, reading is one of life's greatest pleasures and books are a gateway to an amazing world.

Home Libraries are Great -- Public Libraries are Invaluable!

I love books and have amassed a large home library of books I re-read frequently. But, in addition, I make regular trips to the Public Library.

Libraries are truly the 'building blocks of our communities'. From large cities to small hamlets, branch libraries can be found. In isolated areas, our libraries send 'Bookmobiles' to bring the world of reading to everyone.

Are Libraries in Danger?


Source: Pixabay
Can you imagine a time when our Public Libraries might disappear? When a child couldn't 'discover a magical world' filled with books on any subject they could envision? It would not only be a shame.... it would be a disgrace!

If you can't imagine a future without Public Libraries, come read Paul Ward's blog post In Praise Of UK Public Libraries.

Did You Know...?

February 14th is "Library Lovers Day"

August 9th is "Book Lovers" Day 

September 6 is "Read a Book" Day

I love and read books Every Day!

Book Sign that Says it All

Source: Steve Rhodes on Flickr
For the Love of Books...
This Sign Says it All

AS you can see, books are a very important part of my life and in the lives of my family. This sign displayed in Stacey's Bookstore, famous in San Francisco from 1923 to 2009, says it all ---

Books are Affordable, Portable, and Memorable.

Article originally written for another site. © 2010 Wednesday-Elf. Updated 2/4/2017.