I’ve been ruminating, for the past 16 hours or so, on the Book Chat Collective’s latest post:
“The NY Times reported on a trend that parents are purchasing fewer picture books. Rather, they are pushing children towards chapter books at a younger age. This trend is being fueled by parents’ worry over their children meeting standards on standardized tests.”
I have to say, this just makes me sad. I love picture books. My mother read to me often when I was little, and I’m sure fostered my interest in reading at a very early age. I was one of those freak kids who could read on her own before age three, and though we were extremely short on money when I was young, somehow my parents always made sure that my voracious appetite for books was satiated. I have fond memories of the heartwarming Little Bear books, sweet stories like Oliver and Amanda, and silly tales like The Amazing Bone.
When I hit early adulthood and realized that someday I would have a family of my own, I began re-buying those books from my childhood. My mom, who shares my love for good stories and glorious illustrations, has helped me in my efforts and added to my collection with gifts at Christmases and birthdays. Now that I’m a mother, I have a fantastic collection of picture books, and nothing makes me happier than when my children go to the shelves of “Mommy’s Books” and choose a story to share with me or read on their own.
I get that there are goals to be met, tests to be taken and standards to be exceeded. I want my children to excel as much as the next parent (well, OK, maybe not as much as the next parent…. Some parents are nuts. But that’s another post). But I believe that excellence in reading begins with a love of reading, and that a love of reading begins with beautiful pictures, sweet little stories, and the experience of sharing a book together.
(P.S. – May I recommend, if you have any children around who might enjoy a picture book, that you seek out The Amazing Bone? It’s hilarious, intelligent, and imaginative. It was my favorite both when I was six and now that I’m 33. Go. Now. I’ll wait.)