Setting goals is one of the number one ways to achieve success in an area – the number two way to achieve success? Get started. If you set your goals (like reading an hour a day with and to your kids) but you never get started…well, you get my drift…you won’t succeed.
Fortunately, I did both this time – and the results have been amazing. Let me start off by saying that I have always read to my kids, but not on a consistent basis…I tend to go in spurts and it’s all centered around how I feel, how the day is running, what I have on my plate, and a plethora of many other silly exuses I tend to dream up.
Last November, we started the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and got through about 1/2 of the first book. Abby’s attention span at 2 was not the best, so I didn’t know what to expect this time around, but I was pleasantly surprised. She not only paid attention to the story lines, but she also thought about them afterwards and I found all the kids discussing what Almonzo’s life in “Farmer Boy” must have been like. Katie even said that she wished we lived back in those days (I had to laugh at that one, because she just THINKS she works hard now!). AJ identified with Almonzo because he likes to get into a bit of trouble now and then and it was good for him to see that other boys that misbehave have to suffer the consequences for their actions, too.
We finished “Little House in the Big Woods”, and read through 3 more books — “Farmer Boy”, “Little House on the Prarie”, and “On the Banks of Plum Creek”. PLUS…we still maintained our daily devotions…so really? my kids got about 1-1/2-2 hours of reading a day depending on what was going on. Were there days when we didn’t get to read at all? Yes…my mom spent two nights in the hospital, but other than that, they rarely let me stop reading after only an hour. Some days, I need an extra cup of tea just to make it through because my voice is hoarse and scratchy from reading.
Benefits the kids have received from reading: they are learning about American Pioneer history, they are learning and practicing listening skills, they are learning to create pictures and images in their minds and not rely on a tv to entertain, their attention spans are improving, and they are overall behaving better because they don’t want to miss the next installment of the series.
Benefits mom has received from reading to the kids: I’m learning that my kids are much brighter and focused than I’ve ever given them credit for. I’m getting to spend really good, quality time with them and no distractions – we just huddle up on the couch and READ. Sometimes daddy walks out of the home office and his face lights up…makes mom feel like she’s being a mom.
Thanks, Jennifer, for this project. I don’t think I would have been so faithful had I known I didn’t have to report back. It’s been a great experience for our family…and a daily tradition we’re not likely to give up anytime soon.