Weather Forecast


Check It Out: Family reading prompts laughter, discussion

Jodi Schultz

For many, the phrase, "Great American Pastime" conjures up images of baseball. Draw what conclusion you will when I say that the sport of baseball holds no real allure for me. I don't have anything against it. It simply doesn't excite me.

Hopefully I won't offend by my indifference, or by admitting that I think there are other activities as or more deserving of the title, "Great American Pastime." I don't suppose it will come as a shock to hear that reading tops my list.

Few activities stretch across age, income level, interests and abilities the way that reading can. Reading doesn't need to be done in a certain place. There are no official measurements for a reading court or field. A person can read inside or out, and in any kind of weather.

You can read by yourself, read to someone else, or have someone read to you. You can read for entertainment, education or a combination of the two. You can choose different genres, authors or subjects, depending on your mood and interests.

If you're like me, you don't remember ever learning what a book was or being introduced to stories. Before we could walk or talk, someone was holding us on a lap engaging us with colorful pictures, lulling us with the cadence of a voice, teaching us with repeated words and phrases.

Though I recall a day in kindergarten when I noticed that some of my classmates had cracked the code and were making sense of the symbols on the pages of the book we were "reading," I don't remember the moment when I began to read. I just know that when I did, a whole new world opened up to me.

Suddenly I could entertain myself for hours, joining favorite characters on adventures in other times and places. Not only that, I discovered a captive audience in my younger siblings, and experienced the joy of reading to others.

Since then I've logged hundreds of reading minutes with children. I've chanted, pointed, tapped, and clapped my way through too many books to count.

My children and I worked our way from Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, to The Chronicles of Narnia and To Kill a Mockingbird. Besides providing time together, our in-house book club prompted laughter along with questions and discussions that may not have happened on their own.

I know there are many who share my love of reading. Every baby born at the hospital in Park Rapids receives a book as a welcome gift from the Friends of the Library. Through their recently implemented Reach Out and Read program, Essentia Health joins the Friends in their mission of leading our children into a life of literacy by giving free books at well child checkups.

I'm proud to be part of a community so actively involved in introducing a new generation to what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest American pastimes.