(Ignore the messy straps, carseat and hat, and forgive him for being a tiny Padres fan)
I could sit here and find you hundreds of links to research articles that tell you how important it is for your child to be read to, and how important it is for your child to read on their own (if they are older), but you know what, let me spare you. We all know reading is important, we all want little bookworms.
....and I freaking hooked one. SUCKERS. Be jealous.
I just didn't hook one the way I thought I would.
See, I had visions of my child having his nose buried in a hardback book, that I had painstakingly hand picked just for him because of the beautiful message and deep meaning behind the story. Turns out, my kid likes knock, knock jokes about Bananas and crazy bouncy balls, and you know what?
I am estatic.
I couldn't care less that there isn't a deep connection to respecting the planet we live on and hard work embedded in the story line (or is there?). Nope, all I care about is that right now, during the earliest moments in his reading career, he has something that he loves, that he cherishes and someting that he wants to read. At this point in his life, he views reading to be something enjoyable, he views it as something fun and he has something that grabs his attention, and to me, these are all huge wins.
Sure, he is what, almost three? Who cares that he likes studying each page of his favorite comic book like he is looking for a precious dropped fruit snack...I mean, you know...if I let my kid have.....those...oh whatever. He gets fruit snacks. I am the devil. I get it, that isn't the point. The point is, is that I totally care a lot about my child wanting to read, not what he reads.
We all have met those kids, or maybe we were one of those kids who "didn't like to read". They don't want to read the books their teacher assigned, or, maybe your parents...and just being hypothetical here, didn't think it was okay for you to be reading Fear Street Cheerleaders because it was "too scary" (MOM!), and that was the one thing you really wanted to read, that grabbed your attention, but it wasn't something that was available to you. There are a lot of reasons that kids say that they don't like to read, and they are all valid.
If you don't have something that you want to read, you are not going to like reading. How could you?
National Geographic Little Kids (A huge hit in this household)
Thankfully, kids today are lucky, they have so many different things to read, and a ton of ways to read them. From WeGiveBooks (kids can read popular titles for free digitally, while at the same time helping get books into the hands of children who don't have them) to Graphic Novels to e-readers to Magazines geared specifically to kids and their diverse interests (National Geographic Little Kids is Wes's favorite). There are so many different ways to get reading, and so many different things to read, it is hard to run out of options.
But, can we stop here and talk about Tiny Titans and Patrick The Wolf Boy for a second? Because seriously, I don't know if anyone else has gone shopping for comic books that are appropriate for a young child, but the pickings are slim.....or super violent. I can take some fighting, but with a kid who asks "why" to everything, I just don't see the need to explain the violence in traditional comic books yet. Which means, we are left with Sponge Bob Square Pants, Superman Family Adventures, Scooby-Doo, and maybe two or three other ones. Good options, but, Tiny Titans is a really fun read, without it being the characters you want to shove under a couch and magically loose (sorry Sponge Bob).
Thankfully I stumbled across Art Baltazar's shop and found all of his amazing comics that have been perfect for a tiny dude. Also, $2.50 for some reading material that my child will pour over for large expanses of time? Sold! Over and over again.
I don't know why magazines and comic books are Wes's style, but, I guess it doesn't really matter. He loves to read, and fostering that positive connection is enough for me.