You might want to go grab a cup of coffee…
This week, my next thing was to attack the book storage in this home. No small task I assure you. I love books. Back in the days when parents let their kids roam freely about the stores, my mother could always find me sitting on the floor in the book section. It isn’t just the adventure inside of a book that I love. No, I love the very feel and smell of a book. The older and more worn the book is, the more I love it.
Like this tattered little guy who has been loved for two generations.
I keep my books stashed in various places throughout the house. Hard backed, quality books get to be displayed. The soft backed or tattered books live like second class citizens either in a box, a trunk, or on the shelf behind the door in that den closet.
Yet those books are actually the ones that I love the most. I wouldn’t part with them although their organization has been the bane of my existence for two decades. Oh, I’ve tried to organize them. I even color coded the spines with tape way back when.
But it didn’t work. They always ended up looking like this anyway.
Sometimes worse. I gave up and just banished them behind a door.
But I love them.
One of my dreams is to own a quaint little book store like The Shop Around the Corner in You’ve Got Mail. Like Meg Ryan’s character I would specialize in children’s books. If you’ve ever clicked my profile, you might have noticed that I neglect to list my favorite books. There’s a reason for that. When asked, I’m always a little embarrassed to list them because if I am to be perfectly truthful, my favorite books are STILL those from my childhood. Nothing apart from the Bible that I have read as an adult has ever made me want to revisit it over and over the way that my favorite books from my childhood do.
And I developed that love long before I was an independent reader because of adults in my life who took the time to read aloud to me.
***************************It seems that as a culture, we’re losing the art of reading aloud. Our school days are so jam packed and cut so short that teachers lack the time to do what my wonderful teachers did when they quieted the class, usually at the end of the day or just after recess, and read chapter books aloud to us. If I close my eyes, I can hear Mr. O’Hara’s voice as he reads The Boxcar Children even today.
All evidence points to the fact that read aloud time is woefully absent in the home as well. I love it when I hear of young families visiting the library together and relishing the ritual of bedtime reading. I suspect, though, that they are a growing minority.
Reading aloud to children reaps multiple blessings. Not only does it engage the brain and create a better reader and learner, but it also teaches the simple discipline of stillness. I literally want to cry as I observe children today who can not sit for five minutes without self- centered participation, without piping in with their anecdotal tidbits, most of which if you listen, begin with the word “I”. Reading aloud teaches children to passively appreciate a voice other than their own. It teaches them, if nothing more, to sit still.
But there is so much more!
It promotes bonding. In essence, we extend the rocking years by replacing the lullaby with the words of a good story. Mom should read. Dad should read. Grandparents, if they can, should read to them too.
I have a friend whose grandson lives many hours away. She and her daughter have devised some wonderful cyber grandma time. Periodically, Grandma appears on SKYPE and reads aloud to her grandson while Mommy attends to daily chores. Sure, she would rather be holding him in person, but she decided to think outside the box. I would never have thought of that! How many Grandma Points do you suppose she should get?
I love picture books, and some day I’ll post about my favorite picture books for children. But it wasn’t picture books that I found on my shelves the other day. Those are either secured in Innie Paradise or tagging along with the traveling teacher box. The books that I found on my shelves which took me on this detour off Debbie Drive were favorite chapter books, too prime for the reread to be relegated to the attic.
So today, I want to share a few family read aloud favorites.
I’ll wait while you refill the cup if necessary….
Well, of course...I’ll start with my all time favorite series of books.
I have read it silently and aloud so many times that I can quote most of it. Someday, I’ll post entirely on this wonderful book which literally changed my outlook. And by the way, the television series is a poor excuse for the masterful works of this author. Grrrrrr. We’re huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fans here and overflowing with Laura books.
We even took the girls to visit her home and museum one summer...
Why, look! Here’s the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home ...behind my girls...
Beyond "Laura" books are many others. The 3rd grade teacher of The Practical One gets the credit for introducing what became HER personal favorite series of books.
And then there are these books. I believe the credit goes to her fourth grade teacher for them.
And for this one too
And these books, which are two of my favorites.
Disclaimer: I never liked White's Stuart Little. I mean, a talking spider and a trumpeting swan I can get into, but a adventurous rodent notsomuch.
This is one in a series which begins with Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Miss Whimsy’s teacher read it aloud. She was hooked thereafter.
And this one a classmate's dad volunteered his lunch hour to read to her 5th grade class.
There are so many other great read alouds, but I promised myself that I would stop before this became a 1000 word essay…
Summer of the Monkeys…Homer Price…Where the Red Fern Grows… EVERY BOOK by Beverly Cleary…good old Hank the Cow Dog…
Just a few of our favorites. What are yours?