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Family and Community

Home  >  Family and Community  >  Family Collections  >  Durtschi
Reading Adventures - "Giddy on Books"
By Heather Durtschi

Heather, Mike, Max (6), and Reiker (3) Durtschi live in Girdwood, Alaska, where they spend as much time engaged in the outdoors as possible. Heather is a teacher for the Anchorage School District, Mike a commercial fisherman, and both are dedicated parents. In the following, Heather discusses the integral role that reading plays in her family's life.

Heather, Max, and Reiker picking pumpkins.
I have always loved books. Libraries and bookstores are among my favorite places to spend time. I am a teacher and know how much children of all ages love to be read to; literature is an integral part of any curriculum that I've taught regardless of the subject -- world history, German, social studies, health.

Children's books were not necessarily in my repertoire. I remembered my favorites from childhood, but my "child appropriate" library began as a result of my first baby shower. My colleagues at Polaris K-12 threw a "kids' book shower" for me, and I was off and running.

Reading has been a part of the nap and bedtime routine from the beginning. Max, my six-year-old, became animated at three months old when I read him The Alaska Alphabet, by Cindy Shake. It was hilarious. He was captivated by most any book, but the colors or pictures or rhymes in this particular book made him giddy.

I had books all over the house for him to look at and turn the pages, and have read to him. In the bathtub, Max had waterproof books -- we saw them at a friend's house so I got one. He would always "read" as well as play with the tub toys! We visited the library regularly and he began going to our weekly story time gathering at six months old. He would listen for a while, and by one-and-a-half years he would sit through twenty minutes of stories.

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