Every. Single. Night.
Can you imagine? How crazy is that? It is a little crazy; Ozma acknowledges that. But it's also amazing. And it had a profound effect on their relationship and her life. In short: they are close and she is a reader.
It seems so simple, but so many children grow up not knowing what a wonderful, transporting, miraculous thing reading is. And even more children grow up thinking of reading as a chore, something they have to do instead of something they get to do.
I believe very strongly in the power of reading. Book-smarts aren't everything, for sure, but books allow you to see things and hear things you might not otherwise. They take you outside yourself and your situation. Being able to read well usually translates into being able to write well, to speak well, to communicate well -- and anyone who's dealt with a nonverbal toddler knows that being able to communicate well is a life skill worth having.
For other people's kids, I push my agenda by buying books as gifts. Every year at Christmas, I buy books for local schools to give to children; it's the only charity I give to without fail.
My own kids go to the library regularly and receive books from us pretty often. They also see us read. It's actually one of few things I dislike about my Kindle: I worry they think I'm messing around on the internet when I'm reading that screen. I feel guilty reading the Kindle when my boys are around, guilt I never have when I let them play by themselves so I can read a physical paper-and-binding book. I nag my husband to make sure he reads in front of the boys so they see it isn't something just girls do. Maybe it's silly, but I think it's important they don't associate reading as something "just Mom does."
But what struck me about The Reading Promise was that reading was never a bargaining chip. Ozma's dad never skipped a night because she was being a brat and had to go to bed early. Even when she was a teenager and chafing at the rules, they read. It made me think about how I was using reading in our house. The Boy loves being read to before bed and some nights, we take that away. I'm not sure I'm OK with that. I mean, reading being a pleasurable enough activity that its being taken away is a punishment is better than reading being a punishment -- which I've heard of some people doing -- but still .... do I really want my kid to not read because he's being a little shit on particular evening? I don't know.
Maybe being read to will develop the listening skills The Boy and The Lad sometimes forget they possess.
What about you guys? Is reading part of your nightly schedule?