I am not sure when I stopped reading aloud to my boys. Read aloud is my favorite part of the day at school. I read to my class every single day taking pride in the fact that those children are enraptured by my voice, my intonation and inflection when I read. There are times when a day seem to be spiraling out of control. When that happens, I grab a book and start reading. No matter where the kids are in the room, they gather. They listen, they calm, they relax. They are focused on the story, focused on me. I have reeled them back in!
I read to my boys every night when they were little. Each of them had their favorite book that we read over and over again. For DJ, it was Freight Train by Donald Crews. I can still recite it from memory we read it so many times! For Drew it was Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. It is still a favorite of mine to read to my Kindergarteners. Drew says he can still remember me bringing Knuffle Bunny Two to his Kindergarten Class the time I went in to surprise him for his birthday.
As my boys became readers themselves, we had a deal that for every book they read to me, I’d read one to them. It worked for the longest time. I don’t know when it stopped. I guess it just sort of slipped away, out of our nightly routine…we don’t even have a routine anymore.
Over the last few days, Drew and I have brought back the nightly tradition though and I realized just how much I missed it. Drew has always been a struggling reader and when he was given an assignment to read, The Giver, by Lois Lowry, it actually brought him to his breaking point. Last week, he had a complete meltdown while trying to read it. He fell apart calling himself dumb and getting so frustrated that he couldn’t pull himself together. My “teacher diagnosis” is that he can decode and he can comprehend, he just cannot do it at the same time. When I was finally able to calm him down, I asked him if I could try to read him a chapter. He let me, and we wound up reading the few chapters that were assigned for school. I had never read the book so I had no prior knowledge of the beginning of the book and he was at chapter five. He filled me in as we went along and I asked him questions throughout the chapters to see if he was comprehending it and he was. The next night, he asked me if we could read together again. Tonight will be our fourth night reading together and it has brought back his joy of reading again.
I know that I can’t read to him forever and I have already contacted his school and gotten him some audio services to help him follow along as he listens to the assigned books. For now though…I will take advantage of these precious nights that he wants to read with me. They probably won’t last much longer!
Tagged: bedtime stories, comprehension and decoding, Donald Crews, Dr. Seuss, Freight Train, kindergarten read aloud, Knuffle Bunny, knuffle bunny two, Lois Lowry, Mo Willems, read aloud, read to your child, The Giver