Several months ago I purchased The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I was so exited to share the book with Miss M because we have a family membership to ZooAtlanta, the zoo where the real Ivan eventually spent his remaining years. Also, I know one of the zookeepers that took care of Ivan. I envisioned us snuggled in bed reading the book and then taking a trip to ZooAtlanta to visit my friend, asking her to compare the real Ivan to the fictional one. However, my daughter could have cared less about the book. We read through the first couple chapters, but she was not engaged at all.
If I start a book, I feel compelled to finish it. I sometimes suffer through books just to say that I finished them. I felt compelled to force her to listen to me reading the rest of the book. But, to be honest, forcing my daughter to listen to me read something she didn't care about seemed counterproductive.
So, I tossed the book on the floor in her room.
And there it stayed....until the other day.
My daughter came running downstairs in a panic and cried, "Momma, Stella died!"
"What? Stella who died?" I replied. She then showed me the book and informed me that she had been reading it on her own. And by reading, I mean she has been carrying the book with her everywhere she goes consuming the words with a voracious appetite.
She found the book on her floor. She choose to read the book. I was no longer telling her to read it. And maybe that made all the difference in the world.
Her room is filled with books on bookshelves, but books are also on the floor, in bags and tucked in any place where a six year old might stumble upon a book and decide to start reading.