COLUMN: Raise a reader – in any format

Fond memories are made when reading with your children.

COLUMN: Raise a reader – in any format

I love books and I hope, somewhat selfishly, that my daughter Elise develops a love for reading as well.

I have fond memories of snuggling up against my mom as a child as she patiently (I now realize) re-read my favourite tales.

I remember my dad putting my brother and I to sleep during our elementary school years with Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series on audio cassette – he’d sit in the hall between our bedrooms next to the tape player.

And I’m thrilled my brother eventually grew to love reading as well, giving me unlimited library privileges to a large collection of science fiction, fantasy and graphic novels.

I want to have similar experiences with Elise now and as she grows older. Admittedly, I will be disappointed if as a teen and adult she doesn’t enjoy my favourite books or want to discover new ones with me.

I will likely have to let go of my sentimental attachment to the format. The technology has evolved, and I must as well.

One of her favourite books right now is one we listen to online, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Pete the Cat is a groovy blue feline who keeps singing his song no matter what befalls him. Elise grabs the book then taps on my laptop, asking to listen to author Eric Litwin read and sing the story aloud while I turn the pages.

At first I was wary, as I am with anything that draws Elise to the computer screen. Already she runs to my computer for children’s music videos (so intent on watching the animations that she sometimes forgets to dance), and has learned to swipe the screen of her grandparents’ iPad for music and apps. And, being a toddler, she gets agitated when screen time is limited.

But then I remembered the joy I found in listening to Adams – and to Robert Munsch beg Brigid’s mother for more colouring markers in Purple, Green, and Yellow, and emphatically call Ronald a bum in The Paper Bag Princess.

So I am easily on board with listening to books, even if the cassette tapes are now web sites, as long as it’s audio-only.

It’s when she decides she wants to forgo paper books for an e-reader (and she will) that I will have to let go of my sentimental attachment to browsing spines on shelves, feeling the heft of a hardcover, and bookmarking my spot for later.

A new study released by Scholastic on Jan. 14 helps. In the fourth edition of its Kids and Family Reading Report, 1,074 pairs of children age six to 17 and their parents were asked to share their views on reading in “the increasingly digital landscape.”

Scholastic found that half of the children age nine to 17 said they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to ebooks, and one in four boys who has read an ebook said he now reads more books for fun (boys are typically more reluctant readers).

The survey also found that the percentage of children who have read an ebook has almost doubled since 2010 (to 46 per cent from 25 per cent).

Fifteen years from now, when I give Elise Ender’s Game, Dune and Adam’s Guide, I’m sure it will be via e-reader. But as long as she gives them a shot, who cares about the format.

Besides, I’ll always have memories like the one from this past Sunday (Jan. 27, coincidentally, Family Literacy Day in B.C.). My husband set up a bear-shaped kids’ tent in our living room and Elise and I lay next to each other reading all the books we have about bears (and the occasional moose).

I hope you and your family enjoy a rainy Sunday afternoon reading – on paper or e-reader –  or listening to new or old favourites, too.

Kristine Salzmann is a former Black Press reporter and mom to 20-month-old girl Elise. She writes monthly for The Leader on parenting issues.

newsroom@surreyleader.com

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

Surrey RCMP are looking for these two men after a bank in the 12800-block of 96th Avenue was robbed on March 12. (Images: Surrey RCMP)
Police release images of two men suspected of robbing Surrey bank

Robbery happened on March 12 at bank in 12800-block of 96th Avenue

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Recently hired inspector no longer ‘taking a position’ with Surrey Police Service

Jeff Harris was first announced as an inspector on April 1

A vaccine-filled needle awaits injection, during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic held Jan. 15, 2021 at Amica White Rock. Community Living B.C.-funded workers learned April 8 that they, too, can now be vaccinated. (Tracy Holmes file photo)
Support workers for those with disabilities given vaccine priority

News shared with Community Living B.C.-funded staff on April 8

President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)
The West Fine Art Show shifts to an online-only event amid tighter health orders

Website version retains the flavour of the annual live exhibition

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Alastair Grant
Flags drop, bells toll as Canadians remember special relationship with Prince Philip

‘He was often portrayed as a brisk or brusque, rough character… but it’s that other side of him, the caring individual who spent time with people and asked questions and showed compassion’

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

Sunset Manor, an assisted living facility in Chilliwack owned by the Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack, pictured here in October 2020, had its third COVID-19 outbreak declared on April 9, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
3rd COVID outbreak at care home run by Chilliwack church known for opposing vaccinations

30-bed Sunset Manor owned and operated by Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Most Read