Wednesday, May 20, 2009

From Dr. Seuss to Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson- why you should READ to your BIG kids!

Our girls are 10 and 12- just finishing 4th and 6th grade, which means (at our kids' school) that both will officially be in middle school next year. People are often surprised if it comes up in conversation that I still read to our girls. "Aren't they a little old for that?" they ask. Absolutely NOT! We're not reading Dr. Seuss these days, but immersing ourselves in adventures of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, or stepping back in time as we read an American girl story.
When do I find time? Honestly, if we did it after school, their activities would often pre-empt it. If we did it at bedtime (we've tried this) I fall asleep! So...we simply start the day roughly 20 minutes earlier. It used to be 10 minutes, but we find we are so immersed in the stories that we needed more time. The dog and I head up stairs and land on the bed of whichever girl's turn it is, recruiting the other daughter along the way. The girls slowly wake up as I read aloud the next chapter (or whatever 20 minutes ends up amounting to in the book), and by the time everyone needs to get moving towards dressing and breakfast, we're all fully awake and generally filled with at least mental energy as we file downstairs, talking about what will happen next.
I cherish this time with the girls. Sometimes they want to take a turn reading aloud, but often they prefer to close their eyes and absorb the story. In their scary world of instant gratification, they at least have learned the joy of anticipation as we strictly enforce the "no cheating and reading ahead in OUR book" rule.  As we have followed several series- early on with the Magic Treehouse series and lately especially the Percy Jackson and the 39 Clues books by Rick Riordan- our girls have had the fun of following characters over time. They are growing up along with the characters, and look forward to the next book being released by their favorite authors.
BOTTOM LINE: Your kids will NEVER outgrow the joy of reading books together- and the resulting conversations keep getting better and better! 

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