by Susan J. Decuir
I never learned the joy of reading until I saw the joy my daughter, Sarah, experienced as an avid reader.
When Sarah was old enough to snuggle beside me on the sofa, it felt natural to read to her. And she never tired of it. “Read it again, Mommy,” she begged, until she had memorized her favorite children’s books and Bible stories and was reading along with me. Sometimes ahead of me. Surely the beautiful, colorful illustrations on each page helped. Plus, the alphabet flash cards I made from 3 x 5 index cards.
When my husband, Ron, and I decided to homeschool, we chose a phonics program, Sing, Spell, and Write, that incorporates games and musical jingles—much like the alphabet song—to teach the short and long vowel sounds, the blended sounds, and the rule breakers. With Sarah’s love for and ear for music, she took off like a rocket with her reading. Two hundred and seventy- one books that first year. I know, because I kept a list.
Sometimes I would join Sarah on the sofa, independently reading classics like Little House on The Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. Throughout the years since then, I have traveled the world throughout many centuries and experienced thrilling adventures through classics like The Scarlet Letter, Jane Eyre, To Kill a Mockingbird, and hundreds of Christian historical and romance fiction stories. My all-time favorite is Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. I highly recommend it.
Thank you, Farmers Branch Manske Library and the Carrollton Libraries, for stocking your shelves with a plethora of choices for all of your readers.
Then, in 2006, Sarah and her husband, Scot, blessed Ron and me with our first grandbaby.
As told by his mommy, one morning three-year-old Evan bounced out of bed before 7:00 a.m. anxious to watch his favorite cartoon, Curious George. Evan knew his numbers well and carefully watched the clock, knowing that George came on promptly at 9:00 a.m. When Sarah walked into the living room to check on him, she caught him climbing up the fireplace reaching toward the clock on the mantel.
“Evan, what are you doing?”
“I need to change the clock to 9:00 so George will come on, Mommy,” he answered matter-of-factly as she helped him down.
He also loved Curious George books. And, like his mommy, Evan snuggled beside me on the sofa, listening intently as I read his favorites until he had them memorized and started reading along with me. However, as a seasoned homeschooling mom, I determined that he would also learn the punctuation marks.
“Evan, see that little curly mark between the words,” I pointed, then waited as he took a good look. “It’s called a comma. It means to pause, which means to slow down before reading the rest of the sentence. And see that little dot?” He stuck his nose close to the page and nodded. “That means it’s the end of the sentence and you are supposed to STOP! before you read the next sentence.”
“Okay, Nana,” he said, his sky-blue eyes sparkling.
We continued reading when Suddenly, Evan lifted his voice and shouted, “PAUSE!”
“Good job,” I said. Then, when he didn’t stop at a period, I put on my semi-serious face and said, “Evan.”
“Okay, Nana,” he grinned that silly grin of his and shouted, “STOP”
Well, you can image. We became a comedy routine with our exaggerated pauses and stops, practically rolling on the floor giggling uncontrollably.
Emma came next. She was more serious. She preferred dog and horse stories. With exaggerated woofs, barks, and neighs, of course.
Ava is the youngest. The family comedian. She makes up her own stories about a character named Jim Bob—before she knew about Jim Bob on “The Waltons”—who always gets into trouble. The whole family laughs to hard, our sides ache.
How could you not love reading when it’s so much fun!