I loved to read as a child but I don't really recall my parents reading to me on a regular basis. This was also a time, however, when I was like thousands of other kids growing up in the 70's where exposure to second-hand smoke, no seat-belt laws, and bad fashion were the norm. In fact, as a kid I could actually walk into a corner market without a parent, a note, or anything and buy cigarettes. What were parents thinking? How did we survive? As the old adage goes, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. So, even without the ritualistic bedtime story I survived and even thrived in spite of it all.
Part of the reason I loved to read was that I discovered nursery rhymes, oh yeah, and I adored my third grade teacher, Mrs. Prange at Washington Elementary. I know this sounds kind of simple and you might question my first love but nursery rhymes were my foundation. So, if told that I could only choose one book in the entire world I know the right answer should be the Bible and it probably would be for me, the adult, but for the kid it would definitely be a big huge edition of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. In close second would be Father Fox's Penny Rhymes and Free To Be You and Me. These were staples to my reading diet as a child. I could play with the language, memorize, and share with my younger siblings at will. This was back in the day when we could get three networks on TV... sorta and a Canadian station when the weather was conducive, so being able to entertain ourselves was vital.
Siblings were mentioned and I will share that my younger sister enjoyed reading as much as I did but my two younger brothers did not. One of my brothers will even tell you, with a touch of pride in his voice, that he did not have to crack a single book in order to graduate from high school. Yeah? I guess that's another story for another time. But I do know that I always bought him a nice book for his birthdays. I would go to my favorite and only book store in town and choose a classic of some sort. One year it was Shel Silverstein's, Where the Sidewalk Ends or the next it was The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I am happy to say that although my brother may not have read in high school, he is reading now as an adult and recently I had the pleasure of listening to him read to his children and I like to think that I'm a small part of that.
Children become readers on the laps of their parents. - Emilie Buchwald