Tuesday, July 8, 2008

See Mom (and Dad!!) Read

I'd like to take a few minutes here and post about a phenomenon that was not common where I grew up or where I went to school. That phenomenon? Adult Summer Reading Clubs. I love 'em!

Before moving here to the library-rich suburbs of Chicago, I'd never seen a library that held a Summer Reading Club for adults. The library I worked at while in grad school does have a winter reading program for adults, which is a great idea. Winter, summer, I'm totally in support of it.

In terms of developing literacy, one of the best things parents can do is read themselves. Seriously. It seems like such a simple thing, but I think it's a really potent thing. Kids watch their parents. They want to emulate them. If they see their grownups enjoying books and making time to read, they'll want to know what all the fuss is about. They'll be eager to learn how to read.

And is it easier to get a kid to do something they want to do or something they don't want to do? Exactly.

My library runs Summer Reading Clubs for every age (including a staff SRC). And I, of course, signed up for the Summer Reading Club at my home library. (Yes, Chicagoland is so library-rich that I live five miles down the road from the library at which I work and I actually live directly behind a different library in a different library district!) Not that anyone ever needs an excuse to read anything, but I feel like the SRC gives me an "excuse" to read grownup books. It's easy to get caught up in all the children's and YA literature that I love to read and need to read for my job. This summer I'm making sure to take time to read adult books.

So far this summer I've read the following adult books:

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
ridiculous/hilarious/terrible/cool: a year in an american high school by Elisha Cooper
Prey by Michael Crichton (which I reviewed since I read it for the 48 Hour Book Challenge)
State of Fear by Michael Crichton
I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic (arguably 'tween or YA reading, but found in the adult section of my library, which means it counts!)
Naked by David Sedaris

I'm currently in the middle of The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger and I have a big stack of "grownup books" waiting for me.

So, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but I think it's important for parents to read and to make time for it. And any way the library can promote that idea, well, I think it's awesome.