Growing a Reader

Josie Leavitt - March 22, 2010

One of the absolute joys in owning a bookstore is the kids. I’m especially fond of three-and-four-year-olds who have embraced reading to such a degree that want to share their newfound love with everyone, including stuffed animals.
We have a bin of stuffies (as some kids call them now) in the picture book section that kids love to go through. Often the kids will just play with the toys, but every once in a while I see them carefully setting up the toys with books in their little stuffed laps.  We have one little boy who is read to constantly by his parents and he comes in with his father about once a week or so. Young Finn is perfectly content in picture books by himself.
Someone donated three rather large dragon animals to us, and they are a favorite of Finn’s. He sets them up in the three kid-sized chairs in a circle. Then he carefully selects a book for each dragon to read. One dragon was reading a book about dragons, of course, I was told. The other two each had very different books:the red dragon had a fairy tale book and the blue dragon was reading a short truck book.
What was so revealing and lovely, was how Finn turned the pages for each dragon, retrieved fallen books and generally wanted to make sure each dragon had a satisfying and rewarding reading experience. Finn can’t read yet, but he was making up stories, mostly to the dragon reading the dragon book. I was charmed to pieces and only wish I was able to get a picture of Finn with the dragons, but he got very shy.
The care, and almost reverence, this little boy has with books was so touching. He wanted to share his love of story with anyone who would listen, and in our busy store it meant dragons. At his house, I’m sure the dog gets many books set out by his bed.
Finn’s behavior speaks to a household that loves books. He sees both parents, especially his stay at home dad, reading all the time. He is read to constantly. This simple act, sharing a story with a child, has an amazing ripple effect. These parents have grown a reader. And in turn, our stuffed animals have a reading buddy.

8 thoughts on “Growing a Reader

  1. TA

    That’s a beautiful story! I love to imagine it, even though you couldn’t get a photo. In our house, my daughter tries to teach our cat to read. One time, I found a note she left the cat, so I guess she thinks it’s working.

  2. Jessica (Greenlight Bookstore)

    Josie — I’m finding this is one of the most rewarding parts of owning our new bookstore too! I get choked up on a regular basis by scenes of small children interacting with our stuffed bear and cardboard house, begging for another book or just a few more minutes to stay in the bookstore. Thanks for expressing one of the great joys of our profession.

  3. Dawn Riccardi Morris

    I always enjoy reading your posts, but I really love this one! It’s a great reminder that something as simple as sharing stories together, and bringing them to life, is often all it takes to ignite the fire of literacy in a child.
    In a world that’s becoming increasingly complicated, people of all ages will always need stories – and books-in-print!
    Thanks for a great post.

  4. Deborah Lee Luskin

    Reading and “unscheduled time” are both so important for the imagination and the soul – both for kids and grown-ups! Today’s young readers are tomorrow’s adult readers – good for those of us who write adult fiction!


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