Thursday, August 29, 2013

Teaching the Family to Read

I was never an avid reader as a child, but I did read. I remember a fondness for Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books and The Secret Seven. As I progressed into my teen years, I read the odd Wilbur Smith or Sydney Sheldon. In those days, Christian fiction was unheard of as yet.

The first Christian novel I read was Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. I quickly found the sequel, Piercing the Darkness and devoured that. I’d had a taste and wanted more. It was then that my brother introduced me to Ted Dekker and for some years I lived off my brother’s acquisitions by these two authors. 

From that early start in reading Christian fiction, I moved on to Eric Wilson’s books, now my favorite male author and have amassed as many of his books as I could. Over the years I started reading works by female authors like Francine Rivers, Brandilyn Collins, Liz Curtis Higgs, Susan Meissner, Sharlene McLaren, Mary DeMuth, Lisa Harris, and a myriad of other talented writers. I’m continually adding to my library and my list of favorite authors is growing steadily. I’ll definitely have to buy another bookshelf soon, though where I’d put it in my house, heaven only knows.

While growing up, my sons loved having Dad read Goosebumps at night under the covers. It was giggles galore as their father ad-libbed his own lines to their favorite ghost stories, or  Donald Duck, Micky Mouse, Harry Potter and the likes. Bedtime stories were fun and games, but that’s about as far as reading went—for my husband and sons.

My youngest, Kyle, went through a short-lived spate of reading around age twelve. His brother never caught on. However, since Kyle went on missionary training in 2011 and is now in the mission field, his reading has soared to new heights, albeit a non-fiction height— especially his all-time favorite, the Bible.

With both my boys getting married last year, leaving hubby and I in an empty house, I’ve slowly started to teach him the art of reading. So while I’m up in my office writing, he’s often lying in bed enjoying a good book—from my selection. He’s hooked on Brandilyn Collins, has read some of my Ted Dekker novels, and has recently finished the latest book by Tracy Groot, Flame of Resistence, a Second World War novel. To my delight, he immediately asked, “What can I read next?”

I pulled out Black by Ted Dekker, the first in the Circle trilogy, then pushed it back into the bookrack and decided on my all-time favorite, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

He smiled. “I was wondering if you were going to give me that one.”

I’m looking forward to his opinion. In little over a week, he was almost half way through the book, and thoroughly enjoying the story. I do know he won’t be the first man to cite this as his favorite novel.

What about you? What are your family’s reading habits? Have you had to teach them the beautiful art of reading? I’d love to hear your stories or just drop a comment and let me know about your favorite books or who your favorite authors are.


  1. Thank you, Marion, for your really interesting blog. I had never thought about teaching my family the art of reading, since my husband is a bigger bookworm than I am and our three children all seemed to like reading from early on, probably copying their parents. My husband's choice of reading material is very different from mine though--he enjoys fast moving thrillers, and grew up on 'Biggles', then authors like Alistair Maclean and Desmond Bagley. I grew up reading lovely ones like L M Montgomery's 'Anne' books, 'Little Women' and 'What Katy Did' etc. My favourite authors now are many of the old-fashioned ones like Elizabeth Goudge and Dorothy Sayers, but I do love two current secular authors--Khaled Hosseini and Australian author Kate Morton.

  2. I chuckled after reading this, Marion. My husband's been trying to get me to read books he's read and enjoyed. They are usually theology, and I'm glad he's a reader. But he treats books like fruit salad...he has three of four going at once! I can't do that, I'd lose the thread, I'm sure. I enjoy Readers' Digest selections because you get four great stories in one edition.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Rita and Jo-Anne. Great to read about your experiences and likes.

    Would love to hear more stories from our other blog readers.

  4. My husband too was a non-reader when we first married. Since I like to read in bed, this presented a problem. Fortunately, it didn't take long for him to come to the joys of a good book. Now I'm the one muttering "when are you going to turn out the light?" :-)

    In terms of early Christian books, I read Lloyd C. Douglas and Taylor Caldwell. They weren't termed "Christian" at the time, but the message was loud and clear -- and compelling as characters wrestled with tough moral choices. Those authors are still on my bookshelves.

  5. My husband and are both big readers and when the kids were born we started reading to them and talking them to get library books etc. Now they have done the same with their children. We feel we did something right along the way.