My first son came along when I was only 21 and still trying to work and get through college and be a wife. We didn’t have a lot of money but we did have some books, just a few at first. We had the staple Dr.
Suess collection. In the first two years of my son’s life I spent my days fighting the fog of depression, changing diapers, walking the university campus pushing a stroller, working third shift at Walmart, and reading the same books over and over to my son. It got to the point that I didn’t even need the books anymore. The words were burned into my brain. He was what is referred to as hyper-sensitive or overly observant and it was hard for him to relax and shut down, except when I was telling stories or singing the ABC’s. If I stopped speaking he would throw his whole heart into crying. And so I can still recite the ABC’s backward, from any point without pause. I still know oh The Places You’ll Go, Where The Wild Things Are, Fox in Socks, and many others by heart. Even in the car when he would go beserk and we didn’t have an audiobook with us, I would start reciting his stories and he would calm down. Needless to say, a lot of housework was put off until the end of the day or the next day. My kitchen floors didn’t gleam. My laundry basket was never empty. But my son could show you his ABC’s before he was one. He could read small words before he was two and by the time he was in third grade he had read all of the Harry Potter series and tested “post high school” for his reading level. Don’t leave it to the schools. It’s your job to teach your children to love reading, to crave knowledge, to show them a safe place to escape to when the world is too much. And all you have to do is set them in your lap and read them a story.