For the Love of Reading: Make Each Story a Celebration

Today’s post is by Tricia of Raising Humans. Tricia shares ideas for simple, sane, and satisfying celebrations throughout the year – ways to acknowledge milestones and recognize accomplishments without going overboard. You can check out her other posts here.

reading on a snow day
I’ll be honest. I do it to save myself. From boredom. My children and their demands to read the same book again, and again, and again challenge my love of routine and familiarity. They look me right in the eye and say, “Oh, you don’t like change? Good! Let’s not bother with that new set of pages over there. Here’s The Little Blue Truck, let’s read it again!”

But I also do it because there is something there, right? There’s a reason that every night, my son snuggles into my lap and demands to flip the pages of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. There’s a reason he chooses to spend his final waking minutes down in the big construction site each night, rather than on the New York city streets with Trixie and Knuffle bunny. There’s a reason that every third trip my daughter takes to the library ends up with The Very Fairy Princess sitting on our couch.

Books allow our children to explore their interests and their dreams. They allow them to find themselves in a world where trucks cuddle up with teddy bears and little girls with skinned knees eat sugar cookies with extra sprinkles after school. They allow them to live a million different lives before they can even cross the street.

And those dreams and lives and those other worlds are the perfect grounds for celebration.

make each story a celebration

You know those words by heart, so breathe some life into them

Oh yes, we do voices. I have a voice for Trixie, a voice for the infamous Pigeon, and I have a voice for that llama in his red pajamas. I tickle toes and tummies when the story calls for it and I sing. In our home, we have a chant that goes along with the wordless pages in Where the Wild Things are and I swear that our kids request the book for those pages and those pages alone. Reading in our home, whether for bedtime or otherwise, is a full-on experience for the senses. Because how better to celebrate a love of reading and diving into a story than by literally diving into the story. It is the rare book that I’ve read in my adult life that hasn’t made me wonder, if only a little bit, what it would be like to be the main character in the story. To live in her world, walk in her shoes. What would I do? Would I make the same decisions? When I get to that level with a story or character, I know I’m hooked. And I want to hook my children with their favorite characters and stories and start them down a path of loving the life of reading.

You know their favorite parts, so bring those images to life

Remember when you read Eat, Pray, Love and all you wanted through the entire first section was a giant bowl of pasta?

Last summer, my daughter became obsessed with Julie Andrews’ The Very Fairy Princess. She connected with the tomboy-ish little girl with the skinned knees and sneakers who believes in her sparkly heart that she is, indeed, a fairy princess. We read the story over and over and obliged when our little girl requested that we say, “Sweet dreams! You’ll always be our very fairy princess,” each night, just as the parents do in the book.

But we knew her absolute favorite part was the main character’s afternoon snack: “pink lemonade and sugar cookies with extra sprinkles. (Double yum!).” So, one day we made sugar cookies and pink lemonade. We added extra sprinkles. They were double yum. And our little girl felt like a very fairy princess.

The best thing about bringing a part of a story to life is that you instill in your children a belief that dreams really can come true.

You know what they love, so read about it

In the height of Frozen mania, we bought The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder. The cover bears a bright, shiny picture of a snowflake and there are more sparkles, mixed in with a lot of interesting science, across the pages within. Yes, our girl came to Frozen for the princesses and she stayed for Elsa’s over-the-shoulder hair and long iridescent cape. But along the way, she picked up an interest in frozen things and awe at the magic that turns water into ice in an instant. We read that book dozens of times as winter, and Frozen mania, waned. We celebrated her love of the movie, the story, and the magic, and taught her a little something at the same time.

Every time your children snuggle up to see words and pictures come words to life, it’s a moment to celebrate. So tonight, as you prepare to read Goodnight Moon for the hundredth time, think about how to celebrate your little one’s love for that little bunny.

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