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No Rush to Read: Family Literacy (cont)

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by Karuna Fedorschak and Elyse April

Family Literacy

When I, Karuna, was growing up, my parents were both avid readers. One of my fondest memories is of period of time when my dad was reading the novel The Last of the Mohicans. After dinner each night he would tell us kids (all five of us!) the latest bit of the story he had read. I remember being completely enthralled. That book was certainly way beyond my reading level at the time, but my dad brought it to life in living color retelling it there in the kitchen.

I have had a life-long love of reading, no doubt nourished by this early experience. Thus when my own children were growing up, reading together was a main event. Add to this the fact that our kids were raised without television or computers and only occasional movies, and it’s easy to see why reading was a common leisure-time activity in our family. Reading together in a heap on the couch or family bed was a time for physical closeness while the imagination was sparked by the sights and sounds of the story being read.

This tradition of reading together was the natural outgrowth of attachment-style parenting in infancy and early childhood. We already had a habit of being close and connected to our children and they already looked to us to provide what their growing minds and bodies needed.

As teenagers, both my kids have an awesome vocabulary at their disposal, and read way beyond their age level. Yes, they are intelligent, but intelligence is more than inherited brain-power. True intelligence only emerges when the brain and the heart are linked up (see Joseph Chilton Pearce). The “connected” child is an avid learner – a life-long learner. We give our children a great gift by freeing their imaginations and giving them the tools for effective and vibrant communication. There is no rush to read, but with guidance, it is a joy we can run headlong towards with open arms.

Karuna Fedorschak is a free-lance writer and editor, and mother of two teenagers. She is the author of Parenting, A Sacred Task: 10 Basics of Conscious Parenting (2003, Hohm Press). Karuna and her family live in the high desert of northern Arizona where she and her husband have studied and practiced meditation for over twenty-five years.

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