National Family Literacy Day

La journée nationale de l'aphabétisation familiale!

Our stack of books has changed dramatically this year. My son picks books based on the cover, my daughter looks for titles that speak to her. I seem to pick them on how well I know the author, agent, or publisher. Hmmm. Not always the best strategies. Yet, these books have led to interesting debates during our nightly reading sessions.

One thing hasn’t changed. It's still wonderful to read with my children. It's our time, when nothing else matters. I wouldn't give it up for anything, even if it is evolving from snuggle sessions to exciting debates. It’s still magical.

It was gradual with my daughter. The odd novel was in the mix... then she wanted to read it to me, and now she reads to her brother. Yeah, he’s spoiled. He gets a story from her, one from Dad, and a few from me; one in English and one in French, every night. Now he’s starting to read to me too. Why not? He loves it. We love it. During these reads, my daughter hovers nearby in case she finds something to add. She usually does.

My children get what it takes to write a book, because they see me do it, everyday. Maybe that’s why they appreciate them so much, hard to say. They were fantastic beta readers for I Whisper Alone last summer. They know how books work and have interesting feedback. My daughter is old enough to understand voice, plots, and all that magical stuff. We have in-depth conversations about what she’s read, or not read. Why do some books not make the cut? Ask your children. It’s interesting to learn what turns them off a book or even better, what keeps them hooked!

January 27th is National Family Literacy Day, and I'm using this day to reflect on what reading as a family has brought us. It has made me a better mother and writer. It has given them a love for the written word and its craft. Best of all, it’s brought us together in a world where it is so easy to fall apart.

Maybe this year, I’ll write a story with my children. Zombies eating magical princesses with girlie names aside— that might be fun.
Can't wait.

For more great ideas about Family Literacy Day, visit ABC Life Literacy’s website at


Richard said...

It's wonderful that your family reads together. You obviously started at an early age. Your children will have a lifelong memory of your reading to them. Many famous writers remember being read to by their mothers as some of the best memories of their lives.

Margo Berendsen said...

Reading together with family is so magical! I read with my kids maybe once or twice a week, but you've motivated me to up that and make it closer to every night. I love that you guys read in English and French too. French is tres jolie (very beautiful - did i Get that right? It's been 25 years since i took French)

DUTA said...

Family Literacy Day (there's also an International Literacy Day)looks like a great canadian initiative.

I'm sure, and that's the impression I get from your post, that it can help improve both childrens'/parents' literacy skills and family quality life.

Vicki Tremper said...

Aww, what a sweet post. We like to read together, too, but in a more solitary way - each of us reading our own thing but being near each other. The older kid will sometimes read to the younger kid, but he claims it dries out his mouth. LOL. They're just like us. Readers, loners, but family-oriented.

Can't wait to see IWA in the wild!

Tanya Reimer said...

Gee Richard, your comment got me remembering. I used to read to my siblings. I was so much older than them, it was our nightly thing. I would read them the stories I wrote. Once, I read my tough brother Charlotte's Web and he cried all night. I'll never forget how that book moved him.

Yup, your French is still in tact, Margo, hee hee. I've actually had friends tell me I shouldn't actually spend an entire hour reading with my kids every night, it's too long and I need time for myself. But! It's never long enough.

Thanks Duta, great to hear there is an International Literacy Day! We watch movies together, why not read eh?

hahaha Vicki. Reading alone as a family. So much fun! I was wondering if that was where we were headed when my daughter started reading by herself, but turns out she likes to debate what she reads with me. Even better! If I had some of these authors on speed dial for when she runs into the room with a problem, concern, comment, or idea she just has to share!

momto8 said...

both me and my husband are readers, so there are books all over the house....which eventually find their way in our children's hands! they model our behavior

Juliana L. Brandt said...

This is so wonderful! I have such vivid memories of reading with my family. I know how much your kids will appreciate and value those moments as they grow older :)

Shallee said...

I am so impressed with your kids and family! I'm doing my best to make reading a constant and fun part of my toddler's day. He loves being read to, and he's starting to pick up books and pretend to read them himself, which is also fun. I agree, reading and writing is a wonderful way to bring the family together!

Samantha Sotto said...

So cool that your kids are really into reading. As parents, nurturing a love for reading is one of the best gifts we can give them -- second only to stories about zombies who snack on princesses ;-)

Valentina Hepburn said...

Being able to read opens up so many possibilities. I began to teach Scarlet to read when she was three by playing alphabet games when I was looking after her. Now, at five she is the best reader in her class. She loves to read and your children obviously take after their mum. They may even become writers themselves and will remember their wonderful nightly reading hour with you. I think it's up to us to promote the joy of reading to the next generation, a skill which will surely outlive playing computer and mobile phone games.