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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

A book on every bed this holiday

December 16, 2011

We started a new tradition in our family last year. We'll do it again this year, and I hope you'll consider adding this tradition to your family holiday too! It's a simple one: put a book on every bed.

Last year, the Family Reading Partnership and Ask Amy from the Chicago Tribune launched a homegrown, grassroots literacy campaign with a goal to raise a generation of readers. The idea was inspired by the author David McCullough, who says he woke to a wrapped book at the foot of his bed every Christmas morning during his childhood.

Here's how it works:

Take a book.

Wrap it.

Place it on a child's bed so it's the first thing the child sees on Christmas morning (or the morning of the holiday you celebrate).

Thats it.

"A Book on Every Bed" is an appeal to spread the love of reading from parents to children. It also encourages families to share books by reading aloud.

I particularly like that, within this idea, the books don't have to be new. They can be books parents are handing down to their kids. Last year, I gave our younger daughter my much loved copy of The Giving Tree, and my husband handed down to our older daughter his well-worn copy of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Our girls had already read those books, but now they are the proud owners of their own worn and loved copies. I hope one morning they'll be wrapping up those books for their own growing readers.

Last year's choices were highly sentimental for me. This year, not so much. Our choices were based on books they couldn't seem to get enough of at our school book fair. My older daughter will have Are You "Normal"?: More Than 100 Questions That Will Test Your Weirdness (National Geographic Kids) waiting for her, and our younger daughter will waken to The Encyclopedia of Immaturity: Volume 2.

Who knows? Maybe a book on every bed will keep them in bed Christmas morning! (Doubtful). Happy holidays to you and your family. I'll see you again in 2012!

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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald