Passing the Baton by Maria Canela
As a new mom, it is important for me to share my love of reading with my daughter. My husband and I began reading to her while she was still in the womb, and I find it necessary to pass the love of books onto her starting at an early age. Reading to my daughter is not only exciting and fun, but it is a way to bond with her; I get to share an intimate experience with my most important contribution to the world.
Although I was not read to as a child by my parents, being an English teacher has shaped my belief that reading to children from a young age is of extreme importance. Many of the children I teach struggle with literacy because reading has never been a huge aspect of their lives. They were not read to as infants and even toddlers, so the first time they experienced reading was in the classroom. Reading for school as we all may know is quite different than reading for pleasure. The love of reading is crucial to possess from an early age if we are to become avid lifelong readers.
So as a mom, I am striving to create a lifelong reader in my daughter, and hopefully begin a tradition in my own family that will be passed down through generations. In order to do this, I read to my daughter every single night. One of her favorite stories right now is Good Night Moon, a classic bedtime story that I cherish for its simplicity and rhythmic sounds. It brings joy to my daughter who scans the pages while reaching to touch and feel the book. I have also used it as bait for her crawling exercises. There is nothing better than seeing my child reach for a book as she begins to explore it with her senses. My hopes are that she will remain as curious and intrigued by literature as she continues to grow; I will be right by her side through it all.
Furthermore, in my efforts to share my love of reading with children in my life, I am also trying to be a source of encouragement for my thirteen-year-old niece and seven-year-old nephew, who have struggled with literacy. My niece enjoys reading, but she has a difficult time with reading comprehension; the same can be said for her younger brother. Thankfully, they both yearn for new books to explore and are eager to read. My sister and I have encouraged him to read by having him read books to my daughter and picking out books with him as a team. He has conversations with us about the types of books he is interested in, and we encourage him to read these types of books often. I have learned that when a child is interested in the reading topic, they are more likely to keep reading books and view reading as the enjoyable experience it is meant to be.
In addition, I try to send my niece books in the mail every so often to keep her busy with her reading and share some of my favorite teen novels with her. All this reading she does as a hobby will hopefully aid in her comprehension with the literature she is taught in school. Reading often will also make her a faster reader, and she will soon be able to devour pages and pages of magical words. In addition to sending her books, I keep an open dialogue with my sister regarding my niece and nephew’s progress with their reading. She keeps me up to date on how they do in school with their literacy, which makes me feel both proud and at peace; there is nothing more beautiful than sharing a passion with young minds who need to be inspired and gain knowledge. Thankfully, literature is amazing at serving both of these purposes.
Maria Canela is a middle school/high school certified English teacher, who is currently working as a building substitute at Cedarbrook Middle School in Pennsylvania. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and dog. She is currently working on a memoir and her first children’s book with her cousin about a girl named Bella and her puppy, Bentley. You can follow her on Instagram @fisherm_22 and Twitter @dmfisher_22. She blogs about a variety of topics including being a mom and teacher at canelam.wordpress.com.