Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wherein We Haven't Read Anything at All

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the WordTime for another Read Aloud Thursday hosted by Amy at Hope is the Word

The truth is: we haven't been reading aloud very much at all these days. Yes, we've still been chug, chug, chugging our way through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Read-Aloud Edition (still a few chapters left!) but all of our other reading moments seem to have fallen by the wayside.

More and more often I respond, "Not now, maybe later" to reading - and I don't like it. I know the children don't much care for the lack of reading either. There are moments when I know that they are positively starved for a good story. For example, the other day I sat on the floor with Bookworm3 and pulled out Old Hat New Hat and by the third page I had attracted the other two Bookworms who had sidled up to us and who asked me to read it again. And again.

You see, when you haven't been told stories, you ache for them. Why? Because they tell you things about yourself and all the world around you. When you love to read (and really, even when you don't) you'll listen to half-baked stories just to feel satisfied. It's like eating candy when what you really need is a good, solid steak. (Or, if you are vegan, a good bit of kale which is, I understand, The New Beef. Yes.)

It has become very clear to me that my children miss their story time. Books are still a part of life (by necessity, as they are all over our house) and they will pick them up, flipping pages and looking at pictures. Then comes the inevitable question: "Mommy, will you read this to me?" And my poor, poor answer: "I can't right now."

Between moving my mom to town, dealing with the garden, house projects and life in general, we just haven't had time to sit down and read. And we all feel the loss. We lose without books in the picture because by and through stories we learn who we are as individuals and as family. We shape our worldviews by the books we read. We touch one another as we cuddle up around a book and stick our pokey elbows on each other's knees. Most importantly, when we take time out to read, we are safe in the security of knowing that there is always time for each other and that we are available to one another.

Perhaps you think I would make too much of this time and opportunity to read but I stand by my statements. Reading by yourself is important and so is reading to your children and teaching them to love stories. Minds grow and develop when they spend time with the written word. Also, by listening to stories, children learn to tell them. I've noticed Bookworm1 play acting with his toys, telling stories to Bookworm2. He knows how to tell a pretty good story, too! That's because he has heard some pretty good stories. His language skills continue to improve as he connects books to life. I love watching this and I don't want to kill anyone's desire to read by making books seem like a waste of time.

I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert story-tellers for many years. ~ Mark Twain

Wasting time and killing their natural desire to read is exactly what I feel like I'm doing right now; I'm making books seem an inconvenience. As that is the exact opposite of every I believe, I am going to work hard to carve the time out to read again. No matter how busy we are, the most relaxing thing we can do to connect with one another sometimes is to sit down and read.

It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations--something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own. ~ Katherine Patterson

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. ~ Victor Hugo

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island. ~ Walt Disney

We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read. ~ Jules Verne

And from one of our favorites:

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
~ Arnold Lobel

May it be so! (Except, I don't really want the beard myself . . .)


Sherry said...

Oh, Carrie, what an inspiration and dose of conviction. Even though my youngest is 11 I, too need to carve out time to read more.

Diary of an Autodidact said...

I definitely feel the loss of time too. Life has too little time to do everything that we need and want to do, unfortunately. {wistful tone of voice}

My kids are enjoying our August book club selection, btw. (Me too!)I'm hoping we can block off enough time to finish it before the end of the month.

Christy said...

Right on! It's a constant challenge to make time to read to the kids! But worth the sacrifice for sure. On a slightly different thread, my oldest is REALLY into board games and constantly asking me to play with him! I need to make time for that too!

Stephanie Kay said...

I have only read a handful of books with my kids this summer. BUT daddy read The Hobbit and is working on the first LOTR book. And every Mon/Wed driving to/from gymnastics we listen to part of a Narnia story. So we're getting stories, just in different forms than usual.

Annette Whipple said...

:) Thank you for a great reminder that it is so important to MAKE time. Not just to read, but to read aloud to the children.

I've found that sometimes the goal of a chapter book is just a couple pages...not a whole chapter. Even in small chunks they are craving more.

And yes, they'll love any story when starved for a story.

(My 5 yo is not a great story teller yet, but they do have fun pretending...and their worlds are much larger for books.)

Barbara H. said...

Enjoyed this. When I can't read for a while, I feel starved. On the other hand, it makes me long for and anticipate it more, so hopefully you'll all have a joyous reading reunion soon. Sometimes life is, and we can't get everything in, but knowing this is a priority for you all, I know you'll get back to it as soon as possible.

Shonya said...

Oh yes! Moving has definitely hindered our reading time! Can't wait to get settled and back into our normal routines.

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