February 24th (yes, I missed it by 5 days, but you know, that’s probably better than my average) was World Read Aloud Day.
I go through spurts of reading a loud to my children. They LOVE it. Really, truly, honestly. It may be one of their favorite things. And I guess you could say that I read aloud to the kids every day – and even extra on history days. But in the category of reading for non academic purposes, strictly for fun with no hidden agenda or motive? We are kind of hit and miss.
When we first started out with my oldest in 1st grade (he attended Kindergarten at our local government school) my husband would read to the children every evening before bed. I picked out the books for him. I made him read things like Beowulf, The Odyssey, stuff like that to go along with our history reading. It was fun. Really, really fun.
But life gets busier and more complicated and more exhausting (because of course we’ve all reached busy, complicated, and exhausted status long ago.) So our out loud reading sort of dropped off.
And then it came back!
And then it faded away again. *sigh*
But just recently I started reading to the kids again. I bought a kindle version of Honey for the Child’s Heart and used that to pick out books I wanted my 3rd grader to read. I kept trying to get him to read The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and he just wouldn’t. I think the cover didn’t look cool enough (it wasn’t the cover like the one on the link – that one looks awesome!) So finally I just read it myself. It was beautiful! I think I read it in one evening. Just a beautiful book for young readers (not really young, but maybe mature 1st through 5 grade or something.)
So then I read it to the kids. They adored it as well. So we checked out the second book in the series, The Black Cauldron , and adored that one just as much. At this point though, I was kind of moving on from the series, so as far as reading aloud, I only got through maybe a 3rd of the third book, The Castle of Llyr, with them. My son was so upset that I wasn’t going to finish it (bad homeschool mom moment) so I just stuck it in his hands and said, “well, just read it yourself!”
And he did. Probably in 2 days. And then we got a hold of book 4, Taran Wanderer. And he read that in about 2 days. And finally we got a hold of book 5, The High King, and that took maybe three days before he was done.
He finished it this morning before we started school. As we were getting started on our math I asked him how he liked it and he started to cry! He was honestly, truly heartbroken! He had, for the first time I think, had the experience of becoming friends with characters in a book. He had laughed with them, learned with them, feared for his life with them, found courage he didn’t know he had with them,sorrowed and mourned with them, and shared in all of their magical and wonderful adventures. And then at the end of the story – 5 books worth – they all left! Literally! (well, not really, it’s just a book.) Most of the characters, if they hadn’t died in the great battle, had to leave the little land of Prydain. I imagine it was kind of like at the end of Lord of the Rings when all the Elves have to sail off into the sunset.
My son was so lonely. They were gone, just like that. And his little heart was breaking because of it. It was almost like a time of mourning for him, but a proud mama moment for me. He finally got into a book – not just really enjoyed a book – but he got INTO the book and that is powerful.
Anyway, it all started from a read aloud. By small and simple things great things can come to pass, so it goes. Here are some recent links I have seen in conjunction with World Read Aloud day.