Story by Katie Drake
Like most school-aged children, my son Nolan’s daycare was also on spring break last week. It has been a great opportunity to spend some quality time together and a great reminder of why our patient, hardworking child care providers, and teachers truly deserve some paid time off.
On Tuesday, I decided to do something new and fun with him, so I took Nolan on his first trip to the Little Falls Public Library. It was a beautiful warm spring day, and as we walked the few short blocks there, we stopped to look at flowers and squirrels along the way. When we arrived, we entered hand in hand, and when he saw the aisles and aisles of organized books, he stopped dead in his tracks and in his little voice exclaimed, “Woah!”
He knows what books are, he loves them, and we read A LOT. Every day – multiple times a day. Everyone’s parenting style is different, and I’m not a strict nap or eating schedule person, but I am adamant that we read every day.
It all started when I was still pregnant. I was given a book by my coworker and his wife called “Reading Magic” by Mem Fox. It’s about how and why reading aloud to our children will change their lives forever. (BTW: If you know someone expecting a new baby, this is one of the greatest gifts you could give them). The book is a combination of passion and humor in seventeen short chapters, so it’s a super easy read.
The concept of “Reading Magic” is that in the first year of your baby’s life, you should read 1,000 books aloud to your child. Most importantly it absolutely does not need to be 1,000 different books. Let’s be honest, that sounds like an insurmountable number of books (and time), but it’s really only an average of 3 books a day. Children’s books are short, so it’s really only a 10-minute time commitment each day.
The book recommends that you start reading to babies when they are first born, long before they can see the pages or even understand. But that it’s never too early, or too late to start. When he was only weeks or months old, sometimes I was just too comfy with my warm little winter baby all cuddled up and no books nearby, so I would read him things on my phone like LinkedIn Articles, or a work PowerPoint presentation, or the news, whatever… just something to read aloud.
Nolan is now a year old and we don’t even have to ask him to read. He will randomly run (because he rarely walks slowly) over to his bookshelf, grabs a book, brings it to us, and says, “Up” which means he wants to sit in our lap and be read to.
Sometimes he takes a book off the shelf and sits in his little rocking chair and peruses a book by himself. (Please note that he is currently refusing to sit in the chair – only stand, which is not safe – so he has lost his rocking chair privileges for a bit). Sometimes he will read the book upside down, and he often skips pages with his chubby little hands, but it makes my heart happy that somehow, we have helped him develop a love of reading.
Look, I am certainly not some perfect supermom! Full disclosure, we did not read every day. Some days we read zero books and some days we would read 10 or 20 books. I didn’t keep track by the day, but every week, my goal was to read 25 books. Although I’ve no idea of the exact number, we did keep to the 25 books a week, which is about 1,300 books we read in his first year.
For Nolan’s baby shower, we did the popular thing to request a book instead of a card and we were fortunate to have been given many books. It’s fun to read the personal messages our family and friends took the time to write in them. So, we have a good amount of books at home to read and we continually add to his collection. Frankly, I was getting bored with reading the same books over and over again and decided it was time for a trip to the Library.
It was spring break and a nice day. The playground and park was buzzing with kids of all ages outside playing and enjoying the warm weather. It made me sad that the library was so quiet that day. We had the place to ourselves.
In case you haven’t been to the Little Falls Library yet, or haven’t been in a while – It’s awesome! The staff is so kind and helpful. (And patient too – especially since one of Nolan’s favorite parts was to run behind the librarian’s desk).
The newly renovated Theresa Carrig Children’s Center has a big city look and is just so open and inviting. There are thousands of board books for little ones on shelves they can reach. Lots of fun seating and even little reading cubbies that are fun to sit in. (I know, because Nolan and I got inside the largest one together, which was a tight fit, but a fun thing to do nonetheless). There are IPads for kids, a toy area with puppets, Legos, and toys in an open area they can play. Endless fun.
If you haven’t been or haven’t been lately, go! We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful library in our community. There are all kinds of free programs for kids of all ages and adults too. You can learn more at www.LFLibrary.org. They have daytime, evening, and weekend hours, so you have no excuse. Reading is important at any age, but especially for children and it’s never too early or too late to start!
The opportunity to highlight the great people of Little Falls, share her personal perspectives and some humor from time to time piqued her interest and here we are.
Just ask her, and she’ll tell you that after growing up in Millers Mills, population 25+ (according to the sign), Little Falls was just the right size. Katie is the oldest of her two brothers and five sisters.
In 2020 Katie and her best friend Chris began their greatest adventure yet in 2020, with the birth of their sweet and sassy son Nolan who makes them laugh every day.
In her free time, Katie loves to snowmobile, golf, hike, and travel.
If you have feedback on one of her articles or an idea for a story, please feel free to reach out to Katie at KatherineDrakeLF@gmail.com, she would love to hear from you.
If this article leaves you wanting more, or you are just bored out of your mind, feel free to check out other articles she has contributed by visiting Katie Drake Archives – My Little Falls.