Lilly Pool [ PSJ Library ]
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Instilling in children a love of story

Jakim Pool [ PSJ Library ]

Stephanie Pool did not read at a very young age.

“I was a slow reader,” said the Port St. Joe mail carrier. “I didn’t learn to read for a long time.”

You wouldn’t know it though by the way she treats her kids.

Her pre-Kindergartner Lilly, who starts school in fall 2025, and her little brother Jakim, who will begin a year later, have each been read to 1,000 books, split between Stephanie and husband Justin, in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge at the Port St. Joe – Corinne Costin Gibson Memorial Public Library.

Hitting the 1,000-book mark earned them each a $25 Visa gift card, which mom said is going to go towards buying more books.

“I did not experience it (as a child),” Stephanie said. “That’s why I’m giving it to my kids.”

The Irish twins got a double dose of stories from dad, a stay-at-home carpenter, and mom, a mail carrier.

“From the Cat in the Hat, to the Berenstain Bears, to Fancy Nancy and Peppa Pig, and everything in between,” Stephanie said. “I was checking out 40 books twice a week from the library.”

Daddy reads at nap time after lunch, and Mommy reads at bedtime, about 8:30 p.m., “four books at night and always ‘just one more’,” Stephanie said. 

She said Lilly’s favorite is from among the Little Miss Sunshine series, a collection of several dozen books. “I got all of them,” Stephanie said. 

When it comes to reading to their children, there is no competition between parents.

That’s because Mom is hands-down the winner.

“Definitely me by far,” Stephanie said. “I get it in the voices, the extremeness, the different characters. It’s funny; he’ll try to copy me.

“And I’m the one who will read the book three times in a row,” she said. “Daddy will say ‘get a different one.’”

The effect on Lilly has been noticeable.

“We’re seeing the benefit already,” said mom. “Her vocabulary is amazing, she can hold a conversation with anybody. She corrects me on words I mispronounce; certain animals I’ll mispronounce their names.”

Gulf County Librarian Mimi Minnick wrote on Facebook that “taking time to read to your children is the very best gift you can give them – and it’s also likely to improve their experiences at school.

“Best of all, when you have access to a library, it’s free,” she said.

Stephanie said she enjoys the one-on-one attention she can give her children, as she instills a love of reading.

“I want to give them the best opportunity I can, that’s the drive behind it,” she said.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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