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Reading Through the Generations
I’m a reader. I come from a long line of readers. My mother always had a newspaper out on our kitchen table when I was growing up. I remember, as a child, listening to her laugh out loud while reading the paper. When asked what was so funny, she would reply with something like, “Unbelievable,” or “That’s hilarious!”To this day, I’m really not sure if that was her way of tricking me into reading the paper or if she was being authentic. Either way, it worked. I subscribe to two daily papers and two weekly papers. With all that reading, it’s probably no surprise that I’m a library person, too, and have been for years. I’m on the Library Foundation, and two years ago, when we built an addition onto the library here in Broken Bow, Steffens Law matched a number of contributions to help get that done. Years ago, when my own children became old enough to read, we would take them to the library. The librarian would always just hand them a bag, and we’d cap their check-out at five or six books each just so we could keep track of the books. I learned quickly that the last thing you want to do is pick out a child’s book for them. The girls would pick up books on all sorts of things that seemed boring to me, and then, to my surprise, devour them. Anything I’d choose, they’d avoid like the plague. When one of our girls became interested in novels, she was intimidated by the number of pages. So, I made a deal with her. If she would sit and read with me every night, I was willing to help her by reading every other page out loud. She would read one page, and then I’d read the next page. And so on, back and forth, until we finished the book. She agreed, and her first choice was“Call of theWild,”by Jack London. When we started out, the going was a little rough. I thought to myself, this is going to be a
really long book. But by the end, I was amazed by howmuch her reading had improved.
I know I have been lucky in my life. I was read to as a child and have enjoyed sharing the joy of reading with our own children and grandchildren. Not everyone has that opportunity. This is the primary reason our law office will be donating books to a local program that gives books to children who have entered the court system. A book is a special gift to any child, and the gift of reading can be life-changing. So, give some thought to laughing out loud while reading around your children and grandchildren. You’ll definitely get their attention, and you just might kick-start a youngster’s interest in the joy of reading!
Now I read to our grandchildren. While there are many, many new children’s books available, I think it’s funny that the books they seem to enjoy the most are the very same books I read to their mother when she was little. It makes me smile to know that I read the same way my grandfather used to read. He’d read part of one book, then he’d turn it over and start something else. Eventually, he’d come back around to the first one. There are always a few books in progress on my nightstand.
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