Saturday Morning and a Paper Bag

booksLet me start by sharing a childhood memory. Every Saturday morning my mother would load us four kids in the car and drive into town to the library. Then she gave us each a paper grocery sack and turned us loose. We filled our sacks with a week’s worth of reading and left the library excited about “our new books.” Later in the evenings we would all, parents and children, settle down with a book or magazine.

Now many years later I can tell you we never stopped reading. All four of us kids read daily – books and magazines and newspapers.

So what’s the point of my story? It’s really quite simple. Our parents made it a priority to expose us to the world of reading at an early age. They made sure we had access to reading materials and modeled reading themselves.

Thank you Mom and Dad for giving your kids a gift that keeps giving – hours of enjoyment with books in hand. And yes, I still go to the library on Saturday mornings to stock up on books for the week. The only difference is I carry a reusable library bag instead of the brown paper one.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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6 thoughts on “Saturday Morning and a Paper Bag

  1. I can relate to the story you shared, Donna. I did not grow up in a household where reading was modeled by my parents…I don’t ever remember going to the library to get books.

    However, my husband did and is an avid reader and has passed that onto our three children from the time they were infants. Every night he would read 3 books to each child. As they became older and started reading themselves, he would sit by their bed and read while they read their books. He still does this with our 8 year old daughter. He takes her to the book mobile on Wednesday nights to get new books.

    My sons (13,16) have grown up with this and read practically every night before they go to bed…and even in the car traveling on vacation. While ipods and cell phones take some of their attention, they still enjoy reading and it is a part of their daily lives. I am grateful for my husband for modeling reading, and involving our kids in reading early on in their lives. Our kids are strong readers, have strong vocabulary and comprehensive skills and are imaginative… thus, it has made a difference in our family.


  2. Thanks for sharing Kim. Your family’s story is a strong statement to the role parents play in fostering the love of reading by their kids. Your kids will have wonderful memories of the time spent with Dad reading together. And I’m betting there will come a day when they are adults that they will be thanking him for this lifetime gift just as I do my parents. I also note the connection you made to your children’s vocabulary and comprehension skills and imagination.
    Donna Donald

  3. I can fondly remember how exciting it was for me as an elementary student to go to our school library weekly. That is where my love for reading developed. I hope Iowa’s children will say the same. Iowa Public Television is working on early literacy for kids. We have an online course for those working with young children, which is completely online. If you are in Osceola, Chariton or Leon, check this out:


  4. Stacie – You too had that library experience. As the electronic world continues to change the way in which we live, I hope we will always have a library.

  5. My older sister used to read to me every night for her required reading time for school. I truly believe that these moments play a big role in my passion for books as an adult.
    I’m so excited to pass this passion down to my sister’s one-month-old baby girl! We have already started reading together, and I am determined to create these wonderful memories with her, the way that my sister did with me!
    Reading together is such a special way to bond!

  6. It’s awesome that you are starting to share your passion for reading. What a wonderful family tradition to keep going.
    Donna Donald

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