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When is “reading” good reading?
As an avid reader and writer, I encourage my girls to read lots of books. When they were younger and couldn’t read anything, they enjoyed pretending to read or playing with the books and making up a story to match the pictures on each page. I always enjoyed listening to the stories their minds created.

My girls have grown up with a variety of books both fiction and non-fiction and their tastes constantly change. One week they are into sharks and the next fairies. Lately, my girls are into chapter books. Even though my youngest, who is five, can’t read on her own. She still picks out a chapter book or two on our weekly trips to the library. I understand that she is imitating her older sisters as she flips through each page of the book and “reads” the stories. And I try to suppress my giggles when I ask her to bring the library books to me to be returned, to which, she says, “But I’m not done reading those books.”

I understand that “pretending” to read is a phase in the process of learning to read. At the same time, I wonder if I should encourage her to pretend to read more age appropriate picture books.

And then I stop myself!

I remember that my now 7-year-old used to do the same thing when she was 4- and 5-years-old. She pretended to read any and everything, including the mammoth encyclopedias we have sitting around the house. At seven, she still loves to read. I also remember her doing the same thing with writing. She has lots of little notebooks covered in squiggly lines where she was “writing” a story. And now at seven, she can write out her stories with real words. She loves doing both.

Remembering this, I thought of my four-year-old who didn’t want to return the chapter books that she was still “reading,” and I tell myself that any reading is good reading, even if only for pretend. Connecting reading with fun is always a good thing. So, now I think: Read, read, read! Anyway you want!

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