November 16, 2005

Reading aloud

Patricia Storms, who has a way with words and pictures (her own and others), at her blog BookLust asks the questions,

"Do you remember being read to as a child? and Would you like to be read to now, as an adult?"

Good questions, and ones that have particular resonance for me as a home schooling mother with a passion for books and reading, especially because I want to pass that passion along to my children. Interestingly, not many of the commenters at BookLust remember being read aloud to. I don't either, though I know my parents did. I'm also pretty sure that they were more than ready enough to hand over the job to their newly independent reader.

As home schoolers, readalouds play a large part in our days, and in our lives. Some of our more enjoyable readalouds this year have included Caddie Woodlawn, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the rereading, for the umpteenth time, of the collected works of Robert McCloskey. I read aloud to the kids in the afternoon (usually for history and science), and then before bed. When they were younger, I'd read to them before naptime; as a toddler, Laura came to associate the collected tales of Beatrix Potter with naps and would ask for the "sleepy bunny" stories. I often read bits and pieces aloud to Tom (especially when he's driving and especially when he's tired), he reads interesting finds aloud to me, and we all enjoy listening to audio books together, particularly the treasures from Naxos. Until recently, Laura would read aloud to me (now, she explains, "reading aloud doesn't let me read fast enough"), and some of my most pleasant memories from the past few years include cooking or doing laundry with my little blonde daughter perched on a countertop nearby, book in hand, lisping her way through Harper & Row's various I Can Read series and, later, the Magic Tree House books.

I've even admitted to a few friends our variation on "car schooling" -- in our case, "bed schooling," because most of our readalouds, whether for history, science, or just for fun, take place in the master bedroom on the bed, where there are enough pillows and room for everyone, either to snuggle up or to stretch out with coloring pages. Had I known then what I know now, I might have asked my husband to spring for a king size bed, or, what one family I know has, an enormous mattress right on the floor, perfect for sprawling with books, magazines, cats, and just about anything else you can think of.

I'm very much looking forward to many of the readalouds I've planned this year to go along with our history and literature studies this year, pegged to Story of the World, Volume 3: Early Modern Times: Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, the Nonsense Rhymes of Edward Lear, Alice in Wonderland, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Gulliver's Travels, and more. I'm in a bit of a rush, so I'll try to add links to the specific editions we have later on.

So what about you? Do you remember being read to as a child? Do you like being read to? Do you read aloud much with your kids now?

No comments: