Flex PT - April 2018

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973.812.8000 www.flexptnj.com April 2018

MEMORIES OF MOM

Keeping Our Love of Reading Alive

Every year, the world celebrates International Children’s Book Day on April 2. While this isn’t a particularly well-known holiday, it reminds me of reading books with my mom and how I emulate that tradition with my daughters today. Most of you know that I am a first-generation citizen and that my momwas from an Italian family living in Venezuela. Before coming to the United States in high school for a better life and more opportunities, she learned Italian and Spanish in South America. By the time she graduated from high school and went to college, she could speak Italian, Spanish, and English fluently, and she carried those skills her whole life. Up until I was about 4, I was only exposed to Italian. But once I started watching TV, I learned how to speak English. In fact, my mom didn’t even realize I had been learning until she stumbled upon me having a full- fledged conversation with the neighbor. From that moment on, she read me stories in all three languages, and they stuck. I can still speak Italian fluently, though I was pretty

I remember being so intrigued as a little kid, thinking, “Where does the sidewalk end?”

rusty until I visited my family in Italy. My family in South America has helped me keep up on my Spanish, but I ammuch better at listening and understanding than I am at speaking Spanish. My momwent out of her way to read to me and my sister every night. One of the books I remember the most is “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. It’s a book of poems with strange drawings. For some reason, those poems have stuck with me mywhole life, and I remember being so intrigued as a little kid, thinking, “Where does the sidewalk end?”My mom read through that book multiple times, but I never got tired of hearing the stories over and over. As I got older, I started to read on my own. My preference shifted from poems to scary stories and mysteries. I had many Goosebumps books, and I remember having a copy of “Sideways Stories From Wayside School.” My mom actually kept my

Goosebumps books in her apartment her whole life, and I was able to find them after she passed. I intend to give them to Sofia when she gets a little older. Taryn has loved reading her whole life. She preferred the Nancy Drew books and Judy Blume. Sofia is only 6, and she’s already reading chapter books, which I credit to her mom. When I got into high school, I lost my love for reading for a long time, but Taryn retained hers. I’m hoping the girls take after their mom in that way. Right now, Sofia enjoys reading with us and then taking over after a couple of pages to read to Layla. Eventually, if the younger girls take after Taryn, I’m sure Layla will read to Genevieve.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter. We look forward to seeing you soon.

–Raffaele Lagonigro

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