How I became a Reading Role Model

[ 5 ] November 2, 2010 |

It started innocently enough. My friend Jill handed me two books the day before we left for our family vacation. Perfect beach reads, she said. You’ll devour them.

I had never heard of the author (Emily Giffin) and as I read the back covers I briefly wondered if I should grab another book to use as a jacket for these books. Because truthfully, if I wanted that kind of a read, Jill, who is also my hairdresser, would be my go-to girl.

I stuffed them into my carry-on bag along with the coloring books and bubble gum.

Fast-forward one week. We’ve hit all the attractions we came to see and I find myself sitting by the pool alone while my parents entertain my kids. I decide to give the first book, Something Borrowed, a shot and am instantly hooked.

I cannot remember the last time I read a book that I literally could not put down and for the remainder of the vacation I’m reading with the veracity of a 10-year-old, who just got her hands on the latest book in her favorite chapter book series.

By the time we get home, I am half-way through the second book, Something Blue, and have the third book, Baby Proof on reserve at the library. And the transition out of “vacationland” and into the reality of everyday life (you know like cooking meals and doing laundry) is officially complicated by the fact that I don’t want to stop reading ever.

I’m beginning to feel all kinds of Mama-Guilt rising to the surface, when suddenly I realize something wonderful is happening. My kids, who are four and six, have noticed me reading. They’ve noticed how much I am enjoying the book and that at times I can’t help but laugh out loud as I’m reading.

After another couple of days of vacation recovery (a.k.a. Mama reading on the couch) both of my kids, who are not yet readers, grab some of their own books and sprawl out near me. As we sit together quietly enjoying our books it occurs to me that what I am doing — reading for pleasure in the presence of my children — is as important as the many board books I read to them as babies and toddlers, long before they could understand the words I was saying.

And that lounging on the couch reading for pleasure does not make me a slacker mom, it makes me a reading role model!

How about you? Are you a reading role model? What have you been reading lately?

Erin Barrette Goodman is a writer, yoga teacher and mother of two. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network and the host of a number of workshops and retreats designed to support and celebrate mothers. A long-time advocate of local, sustainable agriculture, she is also the Marketing Director for Pat’s Pastured, a grass-based livestock farm in Southern Rhode Island. She blogs at exhale. return to center.

Category: books / stories, parenting


Erin Barrette Goodman

about the author ()

Erin is a multi-media artist, interfaith minister, yoga teacher and passionate builder of community. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network and the creator and host of Behind the Blog. As a mother of two, she also packs lunches, drives the carpool, and bows to the power of PBS Kids.

Comments (5)

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  1. calendar katy says:

    i’m reading rohinton mistry’s A FINE BALANCE. my kids are reading a large reference book on pooping throughout history. we all read a ton. for the multiplication tables and math triangles our house needs to rent a role model.

    i love the pictures of you reading.

  2. amy says:

    I am SUCH a reading role model!! My kids see me reading often, and when we go to the library they know we look for Mama books first, THEN we can go downstairs. (In the other library we can look for books at the same time because it’s so tiny!) Even my just-turned-2yo “reads” books. And the first time she strung two words together it was to tell me to “read book!”

    I just finished Percival’s Planet, which was slow to get going but very good, and now I’m reading Our Tragic Universe because I saw it reviewed and it sounded interesting, so I requested it. Almost all my fiction comes from the library. If you haven’t tried any Joshilyn Jackson, her books are definite can’t-put-them-down-for-love-or-money types.

  3. Liz says:

    We have a 15 minute rule in my house. All, adults & kids have to read at least 15 minutes per day. Book, cookbook, newspaper, comics, whatever. Sometimes the kids groan about doing it, but once they start they often go over time! Another affordable way to read is thru swapping books online. My favorite is Paperback Swap.

    Erin, thank you for a fresh prespective on being a reader and a parent!

  4. Carla says:

    My husband and I read constantly throughout the day. But at night we were in the habit of turning on the TV. When our oldest was still waking once a night, she’d pop her head out & catch us watching TV. One day we decided to read together & it just became a habit. When our oldest started coming out to get tucked back in, she loved seeing us reading. It was a sweet surprise for her…and us, we love just sitting together in the silence reading the same thing or separately.

  5. Capability says:

    So glad to see another great reading role model! So when I was sitting in the middle of a toy-strewn family room with nose in book I was a shining example? Excellent! My kids are older now and are great readers.

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