Dear Mom, Thanks for Making Me a Reader by Rebecca Dunn
If someone asked you point blank who influenced you most as a reader, who would it be? For me, one person clearly stands out from the rest… My mom. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized the amount of energy it takes just to make sure a child’s socks end up on their feet instead of their ears, and how one daily ritual can have life-long effects. This is my open letter of thanks to her:
Thanks for making me a reader.
Thank you for reading to me each and every night before bed for the majority of my childhood. I know now, as an adult, that spare time is hard to come by. But you always made time to give me your undivided attention, which has left an everlasting impact on me.
Thank you for reading some books aloud so many times that you could recite the stories by heart, backwards. When I asked you to read The Berenstain Bears, No Girls Allowed for the 458th time you didn’t hesitate. You put aside your secret intentions of burning it and read it regardless.
Thank you for being patient. I struggled with learning to read and was far behind my classmates the majority of my elementary school years. You worked with my reading teachers and devoted extra time to practicing with me. Even though my pleas of needed glasses, because I couldn’t “see” the words (I have 20/20 vision to this day) were plentiful and unceasing. You saw through my excuses and antics and were nothing but encouraging.
Thank you for allowing me to choose the books I read. You permitted me to read comics such as Calvin and Hobbes, and live in Brian Froud’s fairylands. Whatever my interest, whatever the book format, because my reading selection was large my world was larger for it.
Thank you for giving me books that helped cultivate my everlasting relationship with books as an independent reader. The Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery, Abel’s Island by William Steig, The BFG by Roald Dahl, Black Beauty by Anne Sewell and The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit are a few that come to mind. They touched my heart, they grew my imagination, they are apart of who I am.
As a parent today, I understand why you did it. As a kid, I thought it was a great way to delay bedtime, but now I see how you wanted the absolute best for your children. By providing me a childhood rich in books, it made all the difference. It was the single most important influence to help me evolve into the adult I am today. And now my daughter will have the same advantages in life all because of you. Because, like you, I’ve made it a priority and her life will be better for it.
Thank you for that.
Thanks for making me a reader.
Who influenced you to become a reader?
Rebecca Dunn is a full-time mom and part-time youth services librarian assistant at the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas. When she isn’t chasing her 2-year old, thinking up library programs and storytimes, goofing off on Pinterest, or reading, she enjoys spending time at her blog home, Sturdy For Common Things. You can also follow her on twitter @rebeccazdunn.
What a beautiful letter to your mom! My mom was also instrumental in my journey as a reader. You mentioned one of my favorite series: Emily of New Moon! Thanks for a great post!
Love, love, love Emily of New Moon! Thank you for your kind words, Michelle. I feel very lucky.
Such a simple thing: a loving adult, a book and a time to read. My mother read to me some, but taught me to read early because I was the first and interested. TV was in its infancy when I was a child in the 50s, and so fewer distractions in a simpler time. She taught me the power of words, though, by having me learn the nursery rhymes which I could recite when I was 20 months old. She also made sure books and the library and school were important and available, too. But reading aloud as part of a daily routine leaves you with richness money can never by. I wish all parents would turn off the tv and read for even 10 minutes a night. Thank you for sharing your story, Rebecca!
Thank you for that lovely story, Michelle. I couldn’t agree with you more. Reading aloud and the acted of shared story are important parts in developing literacy and also a bonding opportunity between caregiver and child.
Beautifully said. I come from a whole family of readers & feel blessed for that. I lived with my grandparents in my very earliest years & my grandfather was the reader. We had so many conversations about books & the characters. Your post brought back good memories. Thanks!
That warms my heart, Linda! Thank you!
Ah, I’m so glad you wrote this! So adorable and it just warms my heart. I may have to write a letter to my dad, who was the one who encouraged me to be a reader.
Oh, hope you will. I know it will mean so much to him. Lucky you.
Thanks Molly Mo 🙂
This is a beautiful tribute to your Mom and to your shared love of reading. I have twins who are ten and I still read to them nightly – it’s our most treasured time. When they were little it was the easiest way to keep them both contained and entertained – grab a book 🙂 My proudest Mommy moments are recognizing that we have raised two avid readers. This letter must mean so much to your Mom.
Twin boys, oh my! My husband is a twin and his mother has countless stories of trying to keep both contained at one time 🙂 Thank you for your kinds words. What a wonderful feeling to know you were responsible for their passion for reading.
I’m so lucky to have had a huge number of readers around me growing up. I don’t think that I would have NOT turned out to be a reader. My dad, my mom, my grandmothers, my great-grandmother – plus several wonderful teachers who put books in my hands along the way.
This is a love letter to your mother and I hope that one day my son will say I was able to do the same for him. 🙂
That is the hope I have with my daughter too 🙂
Here’s to all of the mothers like yours! Fathers, too!
Hear, hear!! Thanks, Kirby!
Reblogged this on Mi Lado B. .
Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! I know that reading with my girls is something I just cherish and hope they too will have those special reading moment memories.
Your post was an emotional one for me to read. Sadly I did not become a reader until I became a teacher. I struggle with missing out on some great reading experiences. Better late than never I guess. Loved reading your letter.
Oh did I enjoy your post! (I am SO sharing this on my blog and FB page for my mom followers.) I might have to say that the aches and pains of growing up influenced me to become a reader. I could escape to places where the characters felt like friends and the places were ones I longed to visit. Oh how I longed to live in the bedroom of Goodnight Moon–peaceful, serene and perfect. Life was always better being on the sidelines of friendships like Henry and Beezus’ and provided me the opportunity to make friends with nice girls (as opposed to mean ones during those elementary years!), be with a family whose parents hadn’t separated or feel understood by Judy Blume when I hit the teen years. My 9 and 7 year-old daughters though, will hopefully answer that I influenced them as a reader, as we read aloud every night and it is my most treasured time of day with them. Aches and pains or joys, the love for reading will hopefully take them through as it did me. Thank you for this beautiful article.
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