Crazy time has begun early this year.

Usually it’s just May that’s crazy but this year, because I’m going to Sharjah for about nine days, and so the commitments in April are kind of compressed, the busy time/crazy time of my schedule has started early.

I knew it had been a while since I’d blogged, but I hadn’t realized it’d been this long!

Just know, that over the next few weeks, I’ll be pretty scarce.

But I thought this would be a good blog post because it’s really about what turns kids into readers.

The interesting problem…my grandkids don’t seem to get tired of me reading to them!

Three weeks out of every month I have the joy alhamdu lillah, of seeing my grandkids.

We stagger the visits because there are so many of them (ten!), and each week it’s a different set.

I always try to have a special moment with each child, including the babies, even though the babies are still in the stage where they tend to cling to their moms.

But there usually comes a point in each evening where my grandkids pull me by the hand, upstairs, and we read stories.

Last week it was my oldest granddaughter  who’s eight, and her brother who’s five and the little brother who’s three. We all went upstairs and I held the three year old in my lap and we read picture books. (Don’t stop reading picture books just because they can read novels!!!! And don’t stop reading to them even though they can read themselves!!!)

Now the eight year old has turned into a ravenous reader! (That’s a step up from a voracious reader!) She told me very proudly, that she’d finished a novel in a day!

Her favourite novel so far is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Ooh, I don’t blame her! It’s a wonderful book!

And because they’re pretty strict in terms of religion, I’m limited in the books I can recommend.

No magic!

So she loves animal books.

She read Charlotte’s Web. And loved it of course, but her favourite is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMHBy the way, if you ever saw the horrid movie they did on the book, don’t let that prejudice you! The book is FANTASTIC!!!

What surprised me is that the three year old sat and listened to about five or six stories before he decided he’d had enough and toddled on downstairs to bond with Grandpa.

But the eight year old and the five year old, they leaned up to me, on either side, while we read, and read, and read.

I kept waiting for them to say enough, but they never did.

That’s the interesting problem.

We read for so long, by the time I said we’d better head downstairs, their dad was coming to pick them all up and there wasn’t time for ice cream cones, and they didn’t even seem to care.

I had recently bought Make Way for Ducklings and I read them that, and they loved it. They’re such connoisseurs!!!

And at one point I realized why.

They’ve had no choice.

This might sound archaic but most of my grandkids have no televisions in their homes. Maybe that’s true for all of them, but I’m not sure.

They all have computers and sometimes they do play on them, but for the most part, books are the main source of entertainment these kids have! And so they LOVE them!

Even the five year old boy who’s about as active and lively as any five year old boy out there!

And I remembered how I got to love books so much. It was because my father was very strict with the TV and books were the only thing I could tap into any time I wanted. They didn’t require electricity. They were stealth entertainment.

I’m sure not all kids need to be ‘forced’ into loving books. But I bet you anything, in this day and age of videogames and television distractions, it sure does help!

I’ve been working in some of the schools with the kids and I hope what I say next doesn’t sound like a braggy grandma, but my grandkids are leaps and bounds ahead, in terms of language skills, than many of the kids I see in the schools who are twice their age!

I wish parents would realize that the best thing they can do is turn OFF the TV, and open a book. And they should start when they’re babies, like I did.

Books are the one thing I do spoil my grandkids with.

When I asked the eight year old what she’d like for Eid (it’s coming up in a few months) her eyes lit up and she said, “Novels!”

All of my grandkids are on the road, insha Allah, to be ravenous readers and life long learners!

And alhamdu lillah, they have good examples, because their parents have never stopped learning and neither have I.