When I opened my Email on Tuesday to find Gina' invitation to be a guest author at Booklights, I was giddy. What an honor it is for me not only to be a Booklights blogger, but also to rub (virtual) elbows with the women I consider my blogging mentors and idols.
As you might expect, I love books and have been a lifelong reader. It wasn't until my daughter was born, almost eight years ago, that I rediscovered children's books. More specifically, that special daily connection with my daughter over a story (or two or three). Ironically enough, I don't have any memories of listening to bedtime stories. My first reading memories come from trips to the library. I remember my elementary school library exactly. If the school still existed, I could take you straight to where the Lois Lowry books were! Ditto the Encyclopedia Brown books in the Arbutus branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.
My dad is the book lover, and nearly every room in the house has at least a handful of books. My mom has never been a big reader - though she'll read the newspaper or pick up a magazine. My brothers, like my mom, have always taken a more functional approach to reading: we read because we need to. My brothers didn't like it, and at times they struggled, but they knew it must be important because Mom and Dad said we needed to do it!
Each of those reading personalities are never far from my mind, whether I'm helping a new reader or thinking about the "ideal reader" for a book I just finished reading. Those same experiences are the underpinnings of the Reading Tub, a children's literacy nonprofit I launched in 2003. Learning to read begins at home, so our goal is to help adults engage kids with books even before they recognize their letters.
Literacy and paying forward a love of reading is a rewarding vocation for me. I love volunteering as a reading mentor and sharing news, book reviews, and reading ideas at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, the Reading Tub's blog. While I'm here at Booklights, I will share ideas for helping developing readers; ways to use classroom strategies at home; tips for exploring (or exploiting) the library; and a book recommendation or two. I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and feedback, too.