How My Parents Raised a Reader {+What I Read in June}



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I love doing the monthly Twitterature link-up with Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy every month! It's a chance to talk about books I loved (or hated) reading and to get great recommendations from you and the other bloggers sharing, too.

But before I get into this month's list, I wanted to share a few quick ideas on how to raise a reader.

 My parents have several die-hard book nerds among their children. Yet I also notice other families where books aren't really a priority. And I wondered - what makes children fall in love with reading? 

So I did some very scientific research (i.e. gleaned my childhood memories and asked a question on Facebook -thanks for the awesome feedback!) and thought about the habits my parents developed in me at an early age.

If you want to become a more habitual reader or help your kids fall in love with books, try some of these ideas this summer. And let me know how it goes!

How My Parents Raised a Reader

1. My mom read out loud to us before we could talk, and continued through middle school. 

We learned to listen and also begged for the chance to read aloud ourselves to our siblings, once we were proficient enough. Being homeschooled for four years of my education allowed plenty of read-aloud time.

2. We always had books in our home. 

My parents have one wall in our basement covered in bookshelves, and all our bedrooms had personal spaces for books, too (instead of the ubiquitous personal television). Yearly library sales, yard sales, and used book store visits allowed a steady flow of new books into our home.

3. Library visits happened consistently and frequently. 

At least once a week, my mother loaded us into the car and took us to the local library. We spent hours sitting among stacks of books, flipping through pages and listening to story time readings. I even worked in the library for a couple years during high school (a book nerd's dream come true).

4. We always participated in summer reading programs.

Restaurants in our small town ran summer reading programs, and we always enrolled in the library's as well. It gave us ample incentive to continue reading through the summer break, and I always tried to read more than I had in the previous year.

5. We were allowed to read almost whatever we wanted to.

Once in a while, my parents would find me reading a book that was way too mature for me, and we'd talk about why this wasn't a good idea right now. But overall, they allowed me ample freedom to choose what I wanted to read in any genre. And eventually, my tastes aligned with what was appropriate for me.

And now - onto last month's reads!

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple - Bernadette is a socially anxious architectural genius who disappears on the eve of an Antarctic cruise, leaving her husband and daughter wondering where she disappeared to. The story is told through emails, hospital bills, and text messages - as well as narrative by the daughter. I listened to the audiobook, which was entertaining. But the second half of the novel, as well as the ending, was dissatisfying for me. It's hard to say anymore without giving away the plot!

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett - I love Ann Patchett's fluid and descriptive prose. Her collection of essays span her writing career and follow the events of her life - marriage, divorce, falling in love, the refining of her writing voice, and loss. A few of her essays were especially inspiring to me as a writer.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - I picked up this book as a challenge - surely a Pulitzer Prize-winning 700+ page novel would be worth the effort, right? Tartt can bring events to life in vivid color - but I ended up despising the main character for his weakness and poor choices. And can we just talk about the drugs? I've never read a book with so much drug use! Always a first time for everything, I guess!

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini - This was, by far, my favorite book of the month. Hosseini wrote a book that weaves the lives of dozens of people together, somehow giving you the clarity to keep it all straight and to see the common thread of how we care and hurt those we love. The story extends through decades, past Afghanistan to France, America, Greece, and beyond.

What do you think? Did you and your family have any of the same habits and activities? Any ideas on how to raise kids - or become a person - who loves to read? And what was one book you loved (or hated) reading in June?

Note: Affiliate links used. Full disclosure here.