Saturday, January 20, 2007
Reading with my Girls
When the kids were younger... much younger... I read to them regularly. As they grew and learned how to read that part of our life seemed to drift away. K1 did not take to reading as readily as the girls so I ended up reading to him much longer (into 3rd grade) however, the girls loved - LOVE - reading and took off with it starting around 1st grade. They didn't need me to read to them to be exposed to fantastic stories. However, realizing how much I missed it, I asked K3 earlier this month if she wanted to read a book together. Her response was a resounding "Yes."
We decided to read, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillio. In this wonderful story, we learn of how Despereaux, a very tiny mouse, risks everything to save the beautiful human princess, he has fallen in love with, from the evil plans of a nasty rat and a dim witted serving girl. It is not a happy, happy story... there are very sad events that happen in it. And it is this that I found intriguing. Ms. DiCamillio does not assume that children need only happy, formula scripted stories. While there is a realtively happy ending... it is not the standard "happily ever after". She also uses language that may be new to many of the readers. With some words, she will outright ask the "reader" if they know what the word means, and then proceed to either define it for the "reader" or else she will tell them that they should be able to infer what is meant by what has just happened. She is an intelligent writer with a very creative mind... writing for intelligent, creative children. Kudos to her!
It took us about two weeks to read this book (not every single night) which was just about perfect. The chapters were wonderfully sized ranging from 3 to 6 pages. For the most part, we alternated chapters... I read one then K3 read one. It was a great way to spend some one on one time with her. However, in reading to her, I discovered that K2 missed those read-aloud sesssions as well. I had to promise her that we would do a story together after I was done with Despereaux.
I am so sorry that we fell out of this habit. It was wrong for us to make the assumption that just because they could read - and read very well - that they no longer needed or watnted us to read to them. I hope this is one tradition that we continue.
Now I am off to read The Kingdom Keepers with K2.