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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 simple tradition to bring some comfort

December 20, 2012

Our hearts are heavy during this time for our neighbors in Connecticut. During tough times, I find comfort in returning to simple pleasures and traditions. This is our third year for "a book on every bed," and it's a tradition that I love, and one part of my shopping that I actually look forward to!

Two 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:

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).

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 wrote last year, one of my favorite parts 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 copies of The Giving Tree, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Those were familiar stories, 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.

While those choices were highly sentimental for me, last year's were just for fun: Are You "Normal"?: More Than 100 Questions That Will Test Your Weirdness (National Geographic Kids) and The Encyclopedia of Immaturity: Volume 2.

This year, Molly will open Thirteen Gifts by Wendy Mass (her favorite author) and Anna will get a Garfield Fat Cat 3-Pack. Anna's taken to reading some heavy historical novels lately, and often needs a light diversion before bed. Garfield never lets us down!

Every year I hope the book on the bed will keep them in bed Christmas morning! So far it hasn't worked, but it's been nice to have a 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 2013!

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