Bit­ten by the book­worm

Four-year-old Emily Sa­vory of Port aux Basques has an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for books

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY ROSALYN ROY

The ben­e­fits of reading to young chil­dren are well known, and in­clude en­hanc­ing com­pre­hen­sion and in­still­ing a thirst for knowl­edge, to say noth­ing of the qual­ity bond­ing time be­tween a child and a par­ent or care­giver.

But even for an en­thu­si­as­tic child, reading 884 books in just un­der three months is im­pres­sive. That’s how long it took four-year-old Emily Sa­vory to com­plete her reading jour­nal.

“She loves it,” says Emily’s mom, Ash­ley White, who usu­ally reads to her daugh­ter when they snug­gle down at night be­fore bed. “I have read up to 12 books. Then some­times it’s even dur­ing the day.”

That bond­ing time is im­por­tant to them both.

“It’s nice be­cause it’s like my re­lax­ing time with her and the only time I don’t pay any mind to house­work or what­ever else has got to be done,” she said.

Aunt Can­dace White also helps Emily with a lot of her reading, but it’s Emily’s en­thu­si­asm which is the driv­ing force be­hind com­plet­ing the reading jour­nal.

“She liked pick­ing out books to bring home and read,” says Ash­ley, who ad­mits that book shelf space is get­ting a bit tricky. So Emily’s books have now over­flowed into younger sis­ter Ju­lia’s room. “Once Emily’s book­shelf got full we got one for Ju­lia’s room.”

Sea­sonal books re­volv­ing around Christ­mas or Hal­loween are stored in con­tain­ers and pulled out when the time comes. And now Emily is pur­su­ing a few col­lec­tions.

“We’ve got two shelves full but she’s try­ing to get some col­lec­tions like Clif­ford, Dis­ney, Dr. Seuss, Beren­stain Bears and Scooby Doo, so we may have to work on an­other shelf,” laughs Ash­ley, who es­ti­mates her daugh­ter now owns over 1,500 books.

As a par­ent, Ash­ley says she loves her daugh­ter’s keen in­ter­est in books and that she’s even learned a thing or two about her child as a re­sult.

“Valerie (Par­sons) was telling me how kids who’ve been read to are a lit­tle more cre­ative, catch on to reading faster and it helps them rec­og­nize words,” says Ash­ley, who has watched Emily al­ready at­tempt­ing to read to her baby sis­ter.

“She (Emily) told me one day about horses and dif­fer­ent kids and what a baby horse was called. I didn’t even know she knew so much about horses.”

Emily is a reg­is­tered book club mem­ber with But­ter­fly Book Bou­tique, an in­de­pen­dently owned book­store in Port aux Basques. The youth book club, which in­cludes chil­dren up to Grade 6, cur­rently boasts 86 mem­bers and Emily is the first to com­plete her reading jour­nal.

Valerie Par­sons, the owner of But­ter­fly Book Bou­tique, is also a teacher and de­vel­oped the book club when she first opened her store.

When chil­dren join the book club they get 10 gen­tly used books, a reading jour­nal to record them in, and a book­mark for $1.15.

Once a child fills all 884 slots in their jour­nal, Par­sons awards them a prize from her store. So far only Emily has claimed it.

Mean­while, as some of the orig­i­nal book club mem­bers are get­ting older, the book­store owner is now toy­ing with the idea of up­ping the age limit.

Aside from the ob­vi­ous book sales, Par­sons ad­mits she gains a per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion from help­ing to in­still the ben­e­fits of reading to youths.

“I love to read, and to get chil­dren to be read to or read them­selves, makes me feel fan­tas­tic. I also use the reading jour­nal in my class­room,” Par­sons said. “When they reach 500 (books) I take them out for pizza. One of my stu­dents read 1,200+ books last year in Grade One.”

Par­sons treats one of her stu­dents to pizza, a re­ward for be­ing the first to reach the 500 book mile­stone this year. And once her en­tire class reaches that number they’ll all be treated to pizza as well.

Hav­ing a stream of en­thu­si­as­tic chil­dren com­ing in and out of the shop to pick out their next book is a treat for Par­sons.

“I love see­ing their face when they see how many books are there for them to choose from,” she said.

As for Emily, she’s still un­de­cided as to which of her vast col­lec­tion is her favourite book.

“I love all of them!”

COUR­TESY OF VALERIE PAR­SONS

Emily Sa­vory holds her prize and a cer­tifi­cate of achieve­ment after reading 884 books to com­plete her reading jour­nal.

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