I am really thankful to have such a great public library in town. Not only do they have books, but they also have music, DVDs, audio books, and the “big bags.” Big bags are large bags that often contain a book with either a cd or a related toy. Big bags can also contain puzzles or games. These are wonderful and often catch Elli’s eye. I have a rule that we can only check out one big bag at a time. This keeps them special while also allowing me to keep track of the many parts inside.
On our last library trip Elli checked out Goldilocks and the Three Bears in a big bag with hand puppets. The bag has lain next to our library bag for over a week. I think the three bears might have been wondering why they even came home with us. Today I had to step out for a few moments and came home to find that Elli, much to the bears delight, had taken them out of their bag and was sitting playing with them. She asked me to read the story so she could act it out. This was a new story to her and she quickly found herself captivated by the story and set the puppets down. Her attempt at using her hands and feet to work the puppets wasn’t working anyways. She crawled into my lap and thoroughly enjoyed the story.
As soon as the story was over she scooped the puppets back up and divvied them up. I was to be the boy puppets and she would be Goldilocks and Mama Bear. We played for a solid 15 minutes picking up the story at different places and adding additional narrative not in the story. Mama bear would fix the chair for Baby Bear and Papa should help as he had a hammer. It was so sweet seeing her imagination at work.
Today wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have books or in this case the big bag hanging around our home. Although I am always amazed when I find Nate and Elli looking at books on their own at random times it makes sense. They see us reading which tells them that reading is important to us. They love being read too. They have a hunger for knowledge. These things combined create readers. Although it sounds clichéd, reading opens doors.
How do you encourage your children to read?