Saturday, September 25, 2004

Did anyone read to you?

In second grade, I remember our teacher spent a bit of time every afternoon reading to us. I didn't know the books she read were classics back then; all I knew was that I loved this special time of magic carved out in afternoons when we were exhausted and it was sweltering due to the heat. I still cherish the books she read to us: Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Phantom Tollbooth, among others.

So with our kid, I read religiously, usually at night before bedtime. I remember how it felt to be read to: cozy, warm, safe. Time slows down, and the spaces in between the words seem to expand magically. I needed those spaces for my imagination to flourish.

Whatever alchemy happens with reading aloud, I don't understand completely but I'm glad to continue it in our lives. Tonight, we started the very delicious book called The BFG by Roald Dahl.

Maybe it's making a difference. Last year in kindergarten, we didn't push the child to read; we assumed it'll come in time. This summer, something happened: the kid now reads solo. And we find fortuitously the first grade teacher loves books with a passion, a good thing for all of us. You know that the request for reading at night hasn't changed. It's still a required ritual every night.