Keeping Up with the Kiddos
by Tracy Briseño
My children are voracious readers. I love that they are often deep in a book, entranced, pulled in, and thoroughly engaged. I am thankful that they have a plethora of trusted adults in their life to recommend new titles, from teachers and librarians to grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They also share recommendations with friends.
When my children started reading I wanted to read what they read, have them read what I enjoyed as a child, and be involved in all their reading decisions. Now, three children later, I know I would hold them back.
Instead, they’re constantly reading books that I don’t have experience with. This has led to interesting discussions and thoughtful questions. During conversation, it isn’t unusual for them to bring up something that they’ve read to share what they know. Sometimes they raise questions or ask for clarification on something they’ve read. Sometimes they want to debrief after a particularly powerful scene or book.
I rejoice in this. I love my children initiating interesting conversations. I like learning from them. I love the joy that they have in being able to teach me something. Recently we were talking in the car and a historical figure came up. I was surprised and delighted when our kindergartener piped up with details of her life based on a book she read at school!
Once in a while, they read something I’d rather that we’d talked about ahead of time, but they tend to seek me out if the book is not appropriate for where they are emotionally or maturity wise. They also skip stuff that doesn’t make sense to them if they pick up something too advanced. I find this is a good opportunity to read through what they are reading so we can talk about it. It gives me context and the opportunity to touch base on anything that makes me concerned.
The older kids also like to share books and read aloud to their younger sibling. Sometimes I need to remind them that something that is appropriate for a fourteen year old may not be for a ten year old. It gives us opportunities to talk about decisions we are making as a family and why. Sometimes, it gives them a chance to argue their case—a good skill to have, or so my spouse tells me!
There are books all over my house. We read everything we can, and then we talk about it. And I couldn’t be more thrilled!