I got scolded once for reading outloud to my middle school students. I was told that they should be reading for themselves, and my reading to them was simply enabling them. I nodded my head and probably said something like "Thanks for your input", but it didn't stop me. I loved to read out loud to my kids. I remember once during a unit on Walk Two Moons the class and I could barely get through the scene where Sal's grandpa keeps taking those "darn snakes" out of his car to fix the "car-bust-er-ator." The kids were giggling so much, and I couldn't keep a straight face either. Or when, in the book Holes we meet the Warden for the first time. The anxiety was almost palpable.
The beauty of reading outloud, for me anyway, was that once I hooked the kids it didn't matter what was going on during the day with them. I could pick up the book we were reading and the room would grow silent. "Shut up! She's gonna read!" I loved that no matter who it was: shy girl, popular girl, bully, sports nut, they all lost themselves when the story started.
I thought about that tonight when Hadley and I read our stories together before she went to bed.
I love the scene in "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan says, "Once you read a story it becomes a part of you." Is it identifying with a character? Is it being in another place for awhile? Is it the ability to see your problems or life in a different light? Whatever it is about reading, I agree. The stories become part of us. And reading them with friends, children, students, etc. seems to form a tight bond too. I am thankful that no matter what has happened during the day, Hadley, and now Harper will have stories read to them before they go to bed. I love sitting with them, pointing out objects with Harper, or discussing what, exactly, a "snoo" is with Hadley. I know the stories they read are becoming part of them. I hope they help us to remain a part of each other as well.
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