By Karen Galarpe


Walking into my room one time, a friend said, “Do you read all these books?”

And one time, my aunt came in, looked at my son’s bookshelf and said, “Ang dami niyang libro ‘no?”

We’re a family of readers, my son and I, and have been so for as long as I can remember.

Growing up, I buried my nose in books during vacations, and during school season, I would be in the school library almost every day. I felt a certain kind of high filling out my library card for the year in just a few months, and requesting a crisp new one to last me the next 3 months.

My books of choice when I was growing up were varied: fairy tales in the early grades, then Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Bobbsey Twins later on.

By the time I was in high school, I was into Sweet Dreams, Sweet Valley High, Mills and Boon, even Barbara Cartland romances. But my mom said I should read better stuff, so I shifted to John Steinbeck and books about the Holocaust and the Nazis.

The reading bug continued to bite me while in college, and today, I have to read a book every day no matter how busy I am. Sometimes, just 10 to 15 minutes a day, or a chapter, would do. Having an hour to read is bliss to me.

My reading choices today have become wider: from parenting and personal finance to history, fiction, Christian living, psychology, food, arts, et cetera.

With my son, I have started reading to him while he was still in my tummy. As a baby, he would look at the images I would point out at the board books we would read every day. It also became a ritual for us to read a storybook at night before he went to sleep.

Among the books we would read over and over again when he was small were “Ang Ambisyosong Istetoskop” by Luis Gatmaitan, a story about Jose Rizal’s stethoscope; a book on American presidents; a book series about Lego toys; an atlas; and so much more.

Today, his books have gone more eclectic, from “1984” by George Orwell to books about politics, history, cars, and manga.

To make your child enjoy reading, you have to enjoy reading yourself. When a child sees how much joy you derive at reading and learning, he will gravitate to reading himself. And as Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.