I just read this book. I'm so surprised I haven't heard of it earlier! It was great. (I mean great as in content, of course it's non-fiction and not a page-turner like some suspense novel.) If you're looking to become converted and passionate about reading to your kids and reading in general you need to check it out. I just happened to see a friend list her review on the Goodreads website and I was intrigued that she said she'd read the Stuart Little chapter book with her son who is Cash's age after getting the idea from this book and he loved it. So I checked out the book and the arguments and evidence of what an effect it can have on kids - so much more than all the other programs government is trying to enforce - are so compelling, yet simple, it makes you wonder why we don't realize it. This may become one of my new first-time parent baby gifts - love your child, give them a good home, and here is one of the other best gifts you can give them! It would be a great book for educators to read as well and makes me really want to get my kids into a school that really encourages reading, especially just for the love of reading, not just for fear of being tested.
I'm sure I should thank my mom for all the reading she did to me as a child (I think sometimes 30+ books a day, she recorded in her journal); and un-thank college for scaring me away for reading for a good 7 years after all that forced reading totally turned me off from it. I'm only finally recovering. It also made me feel less guilty for reading around my kids. I usually feel like I'm being lazy and ignoring them so I can read, so I usually just do it on my own time when they're in bed, but this emphasizes how important it is for your kids to see you doing it for pleasure. Just like how readily they imitate you talking on the cell phone. I even had my own witness of this the other day when I pulled out a cookbook and was reading through trying to figure out dinner when Cash went over and picked out his favorite cookbook with the best food pictures in it and I looked over to see him with the twins sitting on either side of him on the couch "reading" the book to them. So cute.
It's been fun to see that my kids have a better attention span for reading than I thought. As soon as I open a book and start reading, all three come join me and we read for a good half hour before I'm the one that gets tired of being squished by three kids and needs a break! And I've realized it's so much better for me to do this at any time of day - I'm so sick of the kids after the frenzy of the bedtime routine and always in a rush that I realized those few minutes can't count as my only quality reading time.
I also love that the book only singled out one library in the U.S. as a shining example of what modern libraries should be like - the Salt Lake City Public Library. Way to go! Too bad I haven't really been there as it was finished around the time I got married and moved away. But it has made me think I want another room in our future house - a wonderfully inviting library/office/study room. (In addition to a really cool playroom. And a place to do hair. And to exercise so I don't have to have exercise equipment in my bedroom and living room anymore!! And a guest room. And possibly a guest house out back..... I better stop reading books and getting hobbies, I guess before this list gets any longer.)
Anyway, go read it if you haven't! And who knows, maybe most of you already have and I'm like the last person on the planet to ever hear of it - in which case I can't believe you didn't suggest it to me!