Anyone who follows me on instagram ( or anywhere else) is probably used to seeing photos of Aiden reading. This isn't just because that is when he is always sitting still enough giving me a moment to breathe and snap a pic. It is because he really reads THAT much. This kid loves his books, and I love that he loves them. I have been asked several times how we approached teaching him to read, and my answer is always the same: we didn't. Reading was just something that came naturally to our child. He is truly self-taught.
When Aiden was a baby, we often remarked at how he seemed to have an extra long attention span when it came to listening to books. This is something that has not changed in the years since. Only now he is often the one doing the reading. I no longer worry about extended silences... I know I will just find him somewhere curled up with a book. The question simply becomes where. He is definitely creative in his reading locations at times. Most often, however, he is curled up under a blanket in his room. Books and blankets - both are well loved by this boy.
One of the things I love most about his bookworm tendencies is that he has such a wide variety of interests when it comes to his choices. He thoroughly enjoys both fiction and nonfiction... everything from silly stories to poetry, from classic children's literature to nature guidebooks. I never know what is going to be in his stack when he is let loose in the library. Well, that is not entirely true. I always know the stack will include one (or more) Geronimo Stilton title.
We started reading Geronimo books when we were studying different countries of the world with Little Passports. For each packet we received, we found a Geronimo Stilton set in that country. That was 2 years ago, and his love for adventures of this globetrotting mouse reporter has only grown. I love that as he reads he always has interesting facts to report about whatever location this particular story is set in. These books definitely feed Aiden's spirit of adventure and desire to be an explorer himself, all while making him laugh and laugh. Matt and I both adore how he gets so quiet while reading and then is suddenly giggling uncontrollably!
As a home educator, I am always considering how I can use this love of reading to encourage learning of all kinds. I find that I am more aware of what he chooses to read. For the most part, he is free to choose whatever he wants to to read. We have discouraged some kinds of books since early on... we aren't fans of gross humor or obnoxious characters. Thankfully, Aiden really has fantastic taste overall. Right now, in addition to his Geronimo books of course, he has a great love of Beverly Cleary. We have had many wonderful hours of sharing Boxcar Children books together. He has even started reading Encyclopedia Brown, which I just love. Sharing the books I enjoyed as a child is wonderful.
We also read biographies together. I love learning about new people right along with Aiden (or at least learning more about those I already know a bit about.) We have read about John James Audubon, Martin Luther, Jane Goodall, and are now reading about John Muir. Initially I had intended to vary the kinds of individuals we studied more, but I love so much how Aiden connects with and is inspired by naturalists that we have kind of followed a theme instead. Well... except for Martin Luther. I often have to remind myself that we have a whole lot of years ahead of us to cover the large variety I want to give him.
I find that this theme of wanting to share everything with Aiden all at once extends in to so many areas for me. Learning to give him the time to fully explore and appreciate what he is interested in right now is something I am still working on. I shared on instagram the other day how I have to remind myself often that he is only 6. I forget sometimes that he still loves all kinds of children's books, and I want to encourage his love of sweet and simple things. It is exciting to me to share in his learning and see him make all these connections and do all the growing... but time goes fast enough without my rushing things. So I will continue to fill our home with tales of every kind, and savor the hours of snuggles and stories for as long as I can!
His little toddler buddy often pulls out books he has long since forgotten and suddenly they are new again! He will often read them aloud for her, but he also loves to just get lost in a book with a mug of cocoa! I forget sometimes that he is only 6 because he rarely reads these early books anymore. I try not to take away this little boy time, but sometimes I let the pressures of society trick me into thinking that this isn't "enough" for him. Thankful for days like today where giggles at Richard Scarry bring me back to a place of treasuring the opportunity to let him just be a child for as long as he can instead of insisting we get back to "real" lessons. #cornerstonelutheranacademy