family fun

A Mother-Daughter Book Club

family funfamily fun-traditions

For as long as I can remember, I've been a reader.  I devour books.  I spend as much time as I can reading.  I mark used book sales on my calendar months ahead of time.  I get giddy at the sight of a Barnes and Noble gift card.  I once read a blog post by a woman who was bragging that she had several hundred books.  I laughed at that as I had recently pulled nearly 100 books just from under my bed during a spring cleaning spree.

book club

So you can imagine my delight when my older daughter Alex, now 9, seemingly came out of the womb obsessed with books.  As a baby, as soon as she could sit up, she would page through books and magazines.  Sure, at that point, she also ripped many of the pages, but what can you expect from a baby? When Alex was a toddler, we would get stacks of picture books from the library and I'd read them to her all morning. And then, one morning when she was four, Alex came into my room and woke me up, handing me a book.  She told me she was going to read it to me, and amazingly, she did.

From that point on, a new world opened up for both of us.  One day, Alex and I were hanging out during my younger daughter's nap, when Alex asked me if I wanted to lie down on my bed and read with her.  I said sure and asked what she wanted me to read to her.  She responded that she just wanted to get a stack of books to read to herself while I read my book to myself.  My mouth dropped to the floor.  I hadn't considered the possibility that my daughter would love reading enough to be happy to just do it by my side.

I was transported back in time to one of my favorite traditions with my own mom.  A few times every summer, my dad would take my little sister to a baseball game.  My mom and I would see them off, turn to each other, grin, and grab our shoes to run up the street to the corner gas station and stock up on snacks.  We would each get a soda, ice cream, something salty, and something sweet.  We would get home, grab some books, take our snacks upstairs, and plop down on my mom's bed to read together for hours.

In those few moments after Alex's suggestion, I realized that I could continue the reading night tradition.  So that's exactly what we did.  Every few months, Alex and I will grab our books, our snacks, and read together for a few hours.  We share with each other what we're reading, we talk about our lives, but most of all, we just hang out and enjoy the camaraderie of sharing our favorite hobby with each other.

Tips for Setting Up a Mother-Daughter Book Club 

  • Food is fun!  Before you settle in with your books, take a trip with your daughter to the closest store – supermarket, big box store, gas station, whatever sells your favorite snacks.  Let your daughter pick out something special, something you don't usually allow her to have.  Maybe relax your sugar restrictions, or pick out a new snack she's been wanting to try.  The novelty adds to the fun of the activity!
  • Relax your reading standards.  Educational reading is awesome, and I often strive to make sure my daughter is getting a steady diet of nonfiction since it's not something she naturally gravitates to.  But reading day is supposed to be all about fun.  Don't control her reading choices.  If she wants to read the newest installment of her favorite comic book, let her.  We all need to turn off our brains and just read something mindless once in awhile.
  • Comfort is key!  Choose the most comfortable part of your house to read.  Get comfy on your cushiest couch with tons of blankets and pillows.  Set up camp on the biggest bed in your house.  If the weather's beautiful, try out your hammock or tree house.  The only rule is to be cozy!

What are you doing in your home to encourage reading?

amy schwabe Amy Schwabe is a Milwaukee-area mom of two daughters, ages nine and six. She blogs about her life raising children, one with severe food allergies, at www.milwaukeeallergymom.com. Her FaceBook page is at www.facebook.com/Milwaukeeallergymom

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