Meet my new reading companion

Actually, I have two new reading companions. The first one happens to be my son. For a few nights now, my six-year old refuses to read books with me after his little brother goes to bed until he’s done reading his own book. I recently got him a whole bunch of chapter books (about 50 pages each, regular font size with illustrations every few pages) about superheroe adventures, including Batman, Superman and Green Lantern. I’m not allowed to read them with him as he lays down on my bed patiently until he reaches the last page. Then he kindly offers me a synopsis of the story, possibly so I don’t feel left out. Sweet kid.

To reinforce the “reading is good for you” message, I now lay down next to him and read my own book until he’s done. We both sit quietly, the alternate flipping of the pages being the only interruption of our silence. Lovely sound to my ears.

The accidental bestseller by Wendy WaxYou’ll notice I didn’t post a WWW Wednesdays update yesterday. That’s because I’m still reading The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax. I didn’t find the beginning of the book very engaging but things did get better after the first 100 pages or so. The problem was to get through every single page. It was not an interest problem. It was a physical problem. As in, I can’t read the damn thing!

A combination of small font size and extremely tight line spacing may save a publisher lots of bucks  but it comes at the expense of my own eyesight. And I know it’s not just me because a friend of mine in our book club complained about the same thing. Here’s what the book looks like, page after page.

Small font size, tiny line spacing - an eye killer

Small font size, tiny line spacing – an eye killer

I consider myself a fast reader so I can’t stand when font size and line spacing slow me down. This isn’t the first time it’s happened to me either and I have a feeling publishers will further try to find ways to reduce the amount of paper they use.

So I finally gave in yesterday, and while I was shopping at Michael’s art & craft store, I visited their magnifier section. Lots and lots of choices are available for crafty people. I just wanted something simple and I found it. To make this a sweet deal, I used my 50% off coupon on my Michael’s phone app for a total of $1.50 + tax. Let’s just say I didn’t break the bank.

But hey, I may have saved my eyes, which makes this purchase priceless. Here’s what the font looks like in the enlarged format.

Using a magnifier to read books works!

Using a magnifier to read books works!

Not bad, huh? How well does it work? I zoomed through 100 pages of the book last night without ever having to squint, so I’d say my new reading companion is a keeper. I just have to find the right position to get the maximum magnification and avoid the glare.

My son was admiring my new purchase last night and suddenly blurted out… “Mama, look, it does three things! It’s a magnifier, a ruler and a bookmark!” He’s so right, the package did tell me it was a 3 in 1! What can I say, the kid is a genius and I’m his proud mama.

If you want one for yourself, Amazon sells them for really cheap too (or Michael’s, if you have a coupon). It’s called the Carson Optical MagniMark Fresnel Magnifier. Sold!

Carson Optical MagniMark Fresnel Magnifier makes reading easier

Carson Optical MagniMark Fresnel Magnifier makes reading easier


18 responses to “Meet my new reading companion

  1. That is a great idea. I may be there soon myself. I wear contacts designed for us old folks who need bifocals, but I still have trouble reading small print, especially in darker places (like restaurant menus, dang it).

    That shift in your son’s and your reading interaction is sweet. Shows he wants to do it independently but still have Mom around. One of my fondest memories is cuddling with my boys to read. We did it for many years, even if we were reading separate things. :)

    • I’m near-sighted in one eye, far-sighted in the other and I have astigmatism in both, so I wear glasses the whole day, but they don’t blow up fine prints! Honestly, one of the keys of being a fast reader is using larger prints. I try my best to get the large print versions of books from the library if available. With this book, I struggled to read 20 pages a night before. With the magnifier I can read 100. That makes a big difference.

      Isn’t it cool to read side by side? He cracked me up because he kept touching me with his feet, and then used my lap as a pillow, without a word. He read late last night but still wanted us to read a book together before going to sleep. I hope we continue that for years to come!

      • It’s funny, because even at the age of 12 and 15, sometimes one of my sons will come sit next to me on the couch while I’m reading and start reading his own book. I try to look indifferent, because if I get excited and make a big deal about it, he’ll leave. :)

      • Haha, teenagers run away from their parent’s excitement because it’s so uncool. Get a hold of yourself, lady! My son has been reading on the couch after school while his brother plays and I do things in the same room. Did I say I love it? I do give him a pad on the head or a kiss once in a while, but no words. ;-)

      • That’s the way to do it!

      • Maybe it’s time for varifocals? It made a big difference for me!

      • The magnifier works so I’ll stick to it for now. My corrective glasses work very well and I never have any problems, unless I run into ridiculous tiny fonts.

  2. Catherine Johnson

    That is really cool and I must get some chapter books for my son. Thanks!

  3. Reading side by side with your son – such a lovely image.
    That magnifying thing is a wonderful idea.

    • I need to take a picture of the two of us reading side by side for the memories for sure.
      I’ve been thinking about getting a magnifier for quite a while and I can say it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!

  4. I love the images of pages flipping companionably as you read side by side. Congrats on your magnifying ruler bookmark.

  5. Clever contraption. Your sons sound brilliant. Love their little comments you write about that they say.

  6. Pingback: WWW Wednesdays – October 10, 2012 | Perfecting motherhood

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