Reading is FUNdamental

Anyone else remember RIF?  I may not be as old as dirt (yet), but I can remember the RIF ads from tv (is that a contradiction?).  I was thinking of how true it is (and was pleased to see that the organization still exists).

I remember when reading first really "clicked" for me.  I think I was in third grade (although it could have been 2nd).  I could read, but I don't recall really reading on my own. My mother would read Nancy Drew to me (the "old" original Nancy Drews that were published in the 1930s and had more chapters and less illustrations than the "updated" versions).  One morning it dawned on me that I didn't have to wait for my mother to read to me; I could do it myself.  It was slow going (some of those 1930s words were not easy), but I did it.  And I loved it.  Soon I was plowing my way through as many Nancy Drews as I could get my hands on.

When my son started school, all of the teachers stressed the importance of reading.  I read aloud to my son nearly every night.  When he was in first grade, we read out loud together (even when we were on vacation in Disney World I brought along his reader and we did some reading together).  My husband and/or I would still read to him right before bedtime.  We discovered the Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey and he loved them.  He wanted us to read more and more to him.  Pretty soon we had the entire Captain Underpants collection as well Super Diaper Baby.  It wasn't important to me that these books were "politically" or grammatically correct.  What was important is that he loved hearing them and he want to hear more.

When he started second grade, he was reading chapter books aloud to me.  We had discovered Dan Gutman's My Weird School series.  He loved them.  Before long he wasn't reading aloud to me, he was just reading.

While I would still have to prod him about doing his twenty minutes a night (he would moan and groan about it), the actual time was rarely an issue.  Once he was told he had to read he would sit down and do it.  Twenty minutes often became thirty or forty.  And on occasion, he would just sit down a read on his own.

For me this was a big thing.  Not only did I want my child to learn to read, I wanted him to enjoy reading.  Thanks to authors like Dav Pilkey and Dan Gutman he does.

I've heard people complain about both authors.  The characters are not good examples.  (The first chapter of the very first book in Dan Gutman's My Weird School series is entitled "I Hate School").  Dav Pilkey's characters George and Harold write their own comic books which are full of misspellings ("It was a time of darkness and dispare for planet Earth") and grammatical errors.  Does this matter to me?  Not really.  What matters is that my son is reading...and enjoying it.  (I can tell by the laughter).  And for now that is what is important.; that he is reading books by authors that he enjoys.  If he is still reading these series when he is older, well, then that might be a problem.  But I doubt that will happen and if it does, we will cross that bridge if it comes to us.  Again, what is important to me, is that my son is reading and he's finding it fun.

These days it not uncommon to find the all three of us  hanging out in our bedroom (because that's where the a/c unit is)...reading.  It's true, reading is FUNdamental for the whole family.


  1. FABULOUS parenting, Beth! As a fellow lover of reading since second grade (that was my "aha!" year), I share your views completely. I am very, VERY proud of you, for ensuring that Jimmy has come to know the joy, discovery, and adventure to be found between the covers of a book.

    Your adoring "Mrs. L."


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