Read Together: Meet the Edwards family

With an active, busy 2-year-old, reading together often means getting creative for Journee Edwards. 

Sometimes that means starting a story while her son, Destin, is across the room playing, or setting up his favorite stuffed animal, Ralph, as the audience.

“He comes and takes Ralph, and takes Ralph’s seat. So sometimes, you have to be creative! But I never give up on the actual reading,” Edwards said.

Once a story has his attention, though, he’s all in. 

“He loves story time,” Edwards said. “I do the voices. It’s a whole production. It’s not just reading – we act it out in a way, and he gets super excited.” 

She often pauses their reading to ask questions, or point out things in the book. They recently spent an hour perusing a favorite book with interactive elements.

“It was kind of a read and find, and lift the tabs, and when I tell you this little book lasted us a whole hour, just talking and asking, ‘Hey, can you point to something red?’ or ‘Can you find the number?’” she said. “The more we do it, and the more we read the same books over and over again, I start asking him questions to see if he’s understanding, and what he’s understanding. So we actually have good little conversations about things, and hopefully he’s registering different items and different things that he sees in real life.”

Those conversations often give her insight into Destin’s developing interests, and a glimpse into the future, of the person he’s growing up to be.  

“All of these moments are really my favorite, because he’s so animated,” she said. “And when he gets into it, he starts having his discussions, and getting to see his personality come out, and the type of questions he kind of leans toward – all of those are just like, ‘Wow, you are turning into a little person, a little human.’” 

Books had a major impact on Edwards’ life. Reading was something she loved to do with her grandmother, and that time together helped her develop a deep appreciation for reading and storytelling. When, as an adult, she became a writer, Edwards could see a direct connection back to her time as a child reading together with her grandmother. She hopes her son finds the same joy in reading, and that it helps open the door to whatever his future might hold. 

“You never know where that reading time is going to send you, so I do it, because I don’t know where it’s going to send my son, and what it might benefit him with in the future,” she said.