Isn't it amazing how a little encouragement and support about reading can be offered to a child and it can change them forever? This phenomenon is in the process of sweeping through my house as we speak.

A little background...
I home schooled my son and eldest daughter for their first two years of school. My #3 soon began walking and the home school lessons soon began dragging. Needless to say, my children got way behind on their reading and writing progress. They were finally enrolled into public school about two years ago, but have struggled with reading and writing. My son caught the reading bug soon after his enrollment, but my daughter has struggled with discouragement and feelings of inferiority as she constantly compares herself to her classmates' reading levels.

On with the story...
About a month ago I purchased the children's classic novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, for my 10 year old son. Since the books were on sale marked '3 for $20', I purchased three. My son got hooked on the storyline immediately. I was so inspired by his inspiration that I returned to the book store several times over a six week period and stocked his bookshelf with a total of twelve children's classic novels (so far).

While picking up the books, I remembered that my daughter's teacher recommended The Secret Garden so that was definitely added to our new library. We began reading a chapter a night together. I didn't just read the words. Just as any
good reader knows, you must give each character a different voice and in this case, some get an accent. Over the past month or so, as we spent family time reading, snuggling, and anticipating together I exemplified how fun and exciting reading can be. I noticed that my daughter was extremely attentive during reading time and had amazing comprehension of details. I was pleased to notice that she showed improvement in her descriptive writing at school. When we were a few chapters into the book, my daughter who had previously been intimidated and overwhelmed a the thought of reading any chapter book on her own, independently picked up a Magic Tree House book and read three chapters... in about an hour. I was so impressed with her achievement. She finished the book in less than a week and started another book adventure from the same series the same day. In addition to her excitement, her self confidence about reading has increased. It's as if she only needed that little nudge to help get her over that reading speed bump.

I do my best to live by the rule "teach by example" with hopes that good behavior will rub off. I was elated and amazed when I saw how quickly my children picked up on good reading behavior with simple bedtime story reading. As I took their story time to another level (from picture books to classics), they took their desire and hunger to another level. They have encouraged me beyond words. I've recently found myself inhaling as many written words as I can breath in each day. The written word is certainly contagious in my house and is notably powerful beyond our comprehension.