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What’s in your library?

March 26, 2009, 10:49 am

Several comments to the Wild Things post discuss reading aloud to kids, which of course all good-hearted parents are meant to do for the tots.

But then there comes the stage when the children achieve escape velocity and launch into reading on their own, outstripping the need or wish to have you read to them. How do you help them find their way? Do you, at all?

I know Charles and Mary Beard constructed their house in part as an ideal school-out-of-school for their children—on a farm, and so in touch with country things; close to New York; stocked with nourishing books for the kids to read at leisure. Kind of a most benevolent Skinner box.

I know too in my own youth, I was awfully fond of … let’s call it “genre fiction” to be kind. At one point my father said, no, you won’t be writing a book report on … that, and gave me David Copperfield instead. Which of course I resented in the moment and later was grateful for.

In our house we had an Encyclopedia Britannica and the complete set of Will and Ariel Durant. Which maybe explains quite a lot.

How about you? Have you tried to guide your kids’ reading? Did your parents for you?

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