Friday, July 5, 2013

Sharing the Love of Reading

My parents are storytellers.  Not the lying kind, the good kind.  Dad can tell a joke like nobody's business.  He can keep his grandkids mesmerized with tales of his wild high school days, and  entertain his own kids with stories about them from the big guy's point of view.  He can make you laugh, and he can make you think.  Mom had a repertoire of fairy tales up her sleeve that she would share with us inside the tent during the inevitable rainstorms when we went camping in Virginia, or on hot, humid afternoons when no one had any energy to do anything else. One of my favorites was Little Black Sambo.  I remember he didn't just have red shoes; they were SCARLET.  The big, bad wolf didn't just have big teeth, they were ENORMOUS.  Mom never let me order books from the Scholastic book order that my elementary teachers sent home from school. Always a penny-pincher, she would convince me that the library was SO much better.  There were so many books there I would never be able to read them all; and they were FREE.  Mom read to my brothers and me on summer days and school nights. My parents knew how to use good hooks, accents, small details, and good word choices in the tales they told.

As a school teacher, the favorite part of any day was when I read my favorite books to my class.  Even my fifth graders had to come back by the couch, sit on the floor, and listen to the stories.  I knew every book wouldn't appeal to every kid, but I tried to entice them with a variety of voices, changing up the volume, and selecting books with adventure and plenty of conflicts.  Most of the time when I came back after a sub had been there, my class would request I re-read the parts I had missed.  I was only too happy to oblige; I LOVE reading books to kids.

Five weeks into the summer and it is finally my privilege to entertain our 10 year old granddaughter for a week.  Kayla is full of "yes, ma'am"s and "thank you"s.  She is so animated when she tells me about Mississippi and her best friends.  She knows the words to all of the songs on the radio and sings along in her sweet little voice.  We both wake up early, and we have enjoyed taking our Boston Terrier for walks along the canal and feeding the ducks, and then making breakfast for her mom and grandpa.  We both love to read, and it was with great pleasure that I went to Barnes and Noble and selected my very most favorite read-aloud book for her:  Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech.

Each night before bedtime, Kayla and I have spread out on the couch and I have read to her.  When we go for our walks, we talk about the book and what we like about the twins, Dallas and Florida and the old people, Tiller and Sairy.  We talk about how awful the Trepids are who run the orphanage.  I have always loved this book because it makes for good discussions about rules and what makes a good rule.  Kayla likes the book, too, and it has been so fun to share it with her. 

Tomorrow we have to get up early.  We saw our fox this morning on our walk.  I haven't seen him for a year or two.  And when my husband was taking Candace out for her birthday breakfast, they saw the mother fox with her babies.  Kayla and I are going to set the alarm and just sit and wait and hope we get a chance to see them, too!

Good night!

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