When Tricia asked me to join our Slices of Life blog, I was a little panicked. I have never written a blog before and worried Where do I start?
I’m going to start with a memory, a Facebook reflection first posted on July 12, 2014 and a confession. Confession: This memory makes me sound pretty good as a mom/reading teacher. It doesn’t share the fact that this particular kid–my 5th out of 6–is one of my best teachers when it comes to working with reluctant readers. It doesn’t give you glimpses into the frustrating, tear-filled afternoons at the dinner table learning no-excuse words. It doesn’t give you that Hey, Mom, you need to relax before you make this kid a non-reader aha moment, but I hope it does give you the sense that–even after four older kids–I still feel like I have to learn a lot more as a mom and a reading teacher.
Raising a Reader
Thoughts as I waited not-so-patiently for my 12-year-old to finish his conversation with the clerk about the alternate universes of Spider-Man so I could reluctantly drop $55 on comics yesterday: Raising a reader is a curious and sometimes uneasy investment. It takes time, participation, and money.
It means understanding that the kid might need 25 minutes (or more) to choose that just-right comic (or book or magazine) when it only takes me five.
It means a $5 trip to the comic store can turn into a $55 trip like that [insert finger snap].
It means I need to know when to bring in my expertise or opinion and when to sit back and let him be enthralled as our favorite clerk schools him in the history of The Ultimate Spider-Man or Spider-Man 2099 or debates the merits of Marvel, DC, or IDW with him–even when I’m ready to move on to the next errand.
It means the $55 that I really wanted to spend on dinner or a new shirt or any of a hundred incidentals is better spent just where it was: on a stack of comics containing a world that draws in a 12-year-old and grabs him so that gasps of surprise interspersed with the unmoving silence of a-body-lost-in-story pour out of the backseat of my Journey because he just couldn’t wait until we got home to start (and finish) reading that first issue.
It means that the red and blue superhero I might not have chosen just happens to be his gateway hero into a lifelong journey of heroes and villains and stories.
And joy of joys to this reading teacher mom, it means I’m RAISING A READER.