Fostering love of good reading in the children & adults (& college students!) of Gracepoint Berkeley Church and Davis, Austin, Minneapolis, San Diego, Riverside, Hsinchu, Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Barbara, Seattle!
This reading snapshot was captured by one of the folks before the Koinonia Berkeley Worship Service last Sunday. These two college students are part of the welcome team, and finished setting up and had nothing to do. So they chose to read! They picked up A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller, which by the way, is a wonderful devotional book with insights from a real modern-day shepherd. (I believe there is a youth book review coming soon.)
They were reading away, and when asked if it was for a discipleship course, or something they were doing with their small group, they said no. One of the guys did disclose something to the effect of, “tbh i forgot my phone today.” Just think, had he not forgotten his phone, who knows if/when he would have ever found the mere 1.5 hours he needed in order to read this great book, and gain deeper appreciation for one of the most beloved psalms from the Bible!
Someone asked me if I was going to do a feature on scary books, since tomorrow is Halloween. My answer is N-O, because I don’t really read “scary” books. Plus, I’d much rather gear up for the Thanksgiving-themed features for this November. Just giving you a little teaser; I hope you’re excited!
Anyway, we all know I love being Auntie Em to many many kiddos here at Gracepoint Berkeley church, but I’m the real-deal “gomo” (고모) to two munchkins! And today, for a pre-Halloween edition of Reading Snapshots, though not a part of my Bibliopolis responsibilities per se, I will brag just a little, if you will be so kind as to indulge me. 🙂 This is my niece Millie, in her Halloween costume of customized scrubs. A very Asian-American stereotype of a costume, you say? Mayhap, mayhap. But ever since she’s been able to grab things, she’s been engaging in early literacy activities! Here she is this morning, reading with her dad (my brother) before he goes to work. The Kim family, stealing those reading moments. Oh, *there’s* the legitimate connection to this blog — fostering the love of reading!
A couple weeks ago, Andrea and Allison visited their cousins and uncle and aunt (Pastor Andy & Amy) at Gracepoint Seattle church. They were excited to take up a bunch of books for the boys up there, so they could have their own little Bibliopolis there. The reading snapshot I have from that trip is of Andrea reading to Eric, actually. Maybe Timmy and Daniel were at school. 🙂
In our go-go-go, “Always On” kind of society, having real quality time with the people we care about most in our lives is a rare thing. Studies show that our kids are being shortchanged the most in all of this. Sadly, they are growing up in a world where to expect face-to-face conversation that is unhindered and uninterrupted by devices, even or especially with their parents, is considered “too much” and unrealistic.
Before I get too carried away with this topic — I want to save it for a review of an amazing book I’m reading right now about this very issue — I will do the “picture is worth a thousand words” thing. I’ll even throw in a video, so that must be worth a few more words!
There’s a way in which we can turn reading to our kids into a task, something good we know we should do but only one in a long list if things we need to “get done.” We might even have our phones out and check them on the sly. But our kids notice everything. And when we do this, we forfeit a wonderful way to relate with and have a conversation with our kids, and reinforcing this way of always being “somewhere else,” even with our kids, whom we love very much.
Truly reading with or to your kids is an activity that requires a lot of care, wouldn’t you say? (I’m finding a way to connect each week’s photo challenge to reading!) Here’s a picture of Pastor Ed Kang reading to the kiddos during he and Kelly’s recent visit down to our Gracepoint Riverside & Irvine churches.
And here is a video of the actual “slightly” paraphrased reading from Shel Silverstein’s classic The Giving Tree.
I know we all live busy lives, but when you set aside some time to spend reading with or to your kids, I want to encourage you to be *ALL THERE*. That means you’ll have to put away your devices and open yourself to the possibility of some conversation! I promise, your email and text messages will still be there afterwards. 🙂
Do you have any fond memories of reading with your kids? Or being read to by your parents, or others? How about thoughts on The Giving Tree…do you think it deserves all the hype? Share your thoughts!
One of my favorite things is the Little Free Library! They encourage people to “build a literacy-friendly neighborhood.” You might have seen them around town — I’ve spied quite a number in Alameda, Berkeley, and Oakland. I can’t have one in front of my house because of the whole HOA thing, but I love finding them, and almost always stop and take a picture of one when I see one. And I like to drop books off into them too!
Yesterday at Gracepoint Berkeley church, Bibliopolis got a shout out and some major props from Pastor Ed Kang. It wasn’t just about Bibliopolis and our reading revolution here, but about thinking overall. He talked about the need to be able to hold words in our minds, especially as we are regularly hearing messages from the word of God. Words apart from the bells and whistles of audio and video that we are used to in much of our screen-based lives. You can read some more the researched benefits of reading for adults, as well as children.
So ironically enough, I’m going to share a video from the Internet with you to drive this point home. You might be asking why I would post a video, when Pastor Ed’s whole point was about the need to read. Many of you have seen this awesome video from Epipheo already, but it’s currently not available in our country. The video below is a PBS interview with Nicolas Carr, the author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains(2010), which I recommend as an accessible history of the relationship between technology and thinking. So, while it’s not as cool with the animation, it’s two people talking, so I feel a little less guilty about posting a video! You do have to hold some ideas in your head in order to process their words. 🙂
The video is already dated, and Carr’s prediction at the end has indeed come true, wouldn’t you say? What parts of the interview resonated with you? What implications do you recognize especially for 21st century Christians? Have you taken any steps to unplug? Have you read The Shallows? If so, what did you think? Share your thoughts below!