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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.

Don't forget the book on the bed!

December 19, 2013

This is our family’s fourth year for "a book on every bed," and it's one part of my shopping that I really look forward to!

Three years ago, 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:

Choose 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).

That's 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.

As I've written, one of my favorite aspects of this tradition is that the book can be new or it can be a beloved copy of a childhood favorite. In the past, we've given our girls our much-loved copies of The Giving Tree, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. The books belonged to me and my husband as children, but now our girls are proud owners of those treasures. I like to think that someday they’ll be wrapping up those same books for their own growing readers.

While those choices were highly sentimental, this year's choices reflect their busy schedules. With limited time to read and the demands of their school reading, our older daughter will wake to some Garfield (who doesn’t love Garfield?) We went with a three pack to extend the fun a bit. Our younger daughter will read and reread National Geographic Kids 125 True Stories of Amazing Animals. She loves that sort of book!

Every year I hope the book on the bed will keep them in bed just a little later on Christmas morning. So far that hasn't happened, but it has been nice for them to have a new book to curl up with once the bustle of Christmas morning has passed. Happy Holidays to you and your family. I'll see you again in 2014!

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"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them." — Neil Gaiman