One Dad’s Reading Resolutions for the New Year

by Tom Burns

Photo credit: Hero Images, DigitalVision/Getty Images

When it comes time to make my New Year’s resolutions, I typically always have a few that relate to reading. “This year, I’m going to join a book club… read a book a week… finally get through The Corrections.” But, if I’m being honest, the most important reading I do every year is the reading I share with my daughter, so perhaps my reading resolutions should reflect that.

Because, in the back of my mind, it always feels like there are books I should’ve read her, nights I shouldn’t have skipped our bedtime story, or ways I could’ve encouraged her reading more. As such, here’s my attempt at making a parent’s list of reading resolutions for the New Year. Let’s see how many I can keep…

I resolve… to stop getting sad every time I see the box of board books in our basement that my daughter “outgrew.”

I resolve… that if my kid comes home, raving about a book she read at school, to seek that book out and read it myself, if only so we can have long, rambling conversations about it.

I resolve… to never, ever take Where the Wild Things Are or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble off my daughter’s bookshelf.

I resolve… to stop saying “Do you want to watch a video?” rather than reading a story on nights when I’m tired.

I resolve… to finally learn how to pronounce Jon Scieszka, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Yuyi Morales.

I resolve… to accept that there are certain children’s literature classics that my kid will never enjoy. And that’s okay.

I resolve… to not openly criticize books that my kid really, really loves. Because, while I might be sick of reading about tornadoes or think that the princess fairy book she got at the book fair doesn’t qualify as high literature, no good comes from a parent rolling their eyes and implying that their child’s choices are dumb.

I resolve… to find positive, constructive ways to make my kid want to read about something, ANYTHING other than tornadoes or princess fairies. Because, COME ON…

I resolve… to stop subtly trying to influence my kid’s decisions when we read a Choose Your Own Adventure book together.

I resolve… to exploit inter-library loan like it’s going out of style this year.

I resolve… to keep not letting my kid watch any Harry Potter movie until she’s read the book first, because her sheer level of outrage when S.P.E.W. wasn’t even mentioned in the Goblet of Fire movie was a delight to behold.

I resolve… to not take library books on family vacations this year. I know I said that last year, but this year I really mean it.

I resolve… to encourage my daughter to read out loud to me more often, because it still amazes me that the little baby I used to hold can read a whole book on her own.

I resolve… to let my daughter read what she wants to read, but never, ever stop working to convince her to read the books I think she should read.