Read Aloud Thursday: Our Week in Books

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This is the last week of the swim and dive season. It’s been a great summer at the pool. John has had a more successful year in terms of swim times than expected which has meant more meets and time out of the house. But it’s also been great for him. I see him learning the value of hard work and the joy of being part of a team and making new friends. Last night was a special “B” relay meet where he wasn’t allowed to compete but his younger brother was. It was so great to see many of the older kids show up to help and cheer on the younger teammates. David’s face was lit up with excitement when he finished his swim. So a good summer. Still, I’m looking forward to August and a little more quiet and downtime. Along with three camps and a foreign exchange student and school prep. So maybe still busy but a different busy. I’m also looking forward to more time to read.

No matter how busy we are we never DON’T read. But there are times where we read less  and times where we read more. I sometimes feel guilty about the comparative lack of books I read to Ruth as opposed to what I read to her brothers at the same age. Luckily for her, she is no shrinking violet when it comes to letting us know what she wants and will frequently thrust a book at me demanding for it to be read. This week the book most demanded is the rollicking rhyming Duck in a Truck by Jez Alborough. We’ve read it so much that she has started telling me the story as soon as I open to the picture on the title page. “There is the mud and the duck is going to go in there. Uh-oh! Stuck! And then the goat comes and then the duck goes wheeee down the road.”  Now that I think about it maybe I should count this as her first narration.

David and I just started The Hobbit as his special bedtime book. The language is difficult for a five year old but it’s such a great story that I’m hoping as we read more it will hold his attention. John is also excited about listening in to this one. He read it himself about a year ago and loved it. I decided to read it with David in preparation for the movie coming out in the fall. I think it might be fun to take both boys but I have a strict read-the-book first policy when it comes to movies.

Reading The Hobbit and recently reading The Dark is Rising series to John have made me re-think my whole approach to reading aloud. I’m about to make a shocking confession in a Read Aloud Thursday post but I don’t like being read aloud to. I like reading aloud to my kids but I’ve never really enjoyed having someone read to me. (I’m sure if my Mom is reading this she will laugh aloud since I was apparently like my daughter and quite bold in my insistence on being read to as a toddler. So, I’ll amend my statement to say that there was a time when I liked being read aloud to a lot but as I got older I stopped liking it.) I think this probably has something to do with being a very visual learner and something to do with the part of my personality that likes to do things myself.

Because of this I’ve always had it in mind to “save” certain books for my kids to read for themselves instead as of read alouds. I wanted them to have the joy of discovering them on their own. I don’t have a formal list but in my head I was saving The Dark is Rising, the Narnia books, the Lord of the Rings, and Anne of Green Gables among others. However, I finally read The Dark is Rising (my own favorite childhood series) to John because I realized he has his own favorites he’ll discover, favorites that will be different from mine. I also have realized that my kids (so far) seem to feel differently than me about being read to. David and Ruth still need us to read to them and John still loves it (perhaps the most of all the kids). That might change as he gets older but for now it seems that there is no difference for him in enjoyment of a book when I read it or when he reads it himself. And for me, there is the added benefit of getting to enjoy the books together.

This is what John and are I currently enjoying together. In this case, I think I’m enjoying it more with him than I would on my own. I read the first Mysterious Benedict Society book and liked it a lot. I had read the others awhile ago and liked them ok but sharing them with John is definitely increasing the pleasure. He likes these a lot as evidenced by all the laughing aloud, nail-biting as he listens nervously and begging to please read more that goes on.

Ok, so not technically a read-aloud but it was the book I read this week. All I can say is READ THIS BOOK. It’s fantastic. It definitely should be in the running for some kind of best YA book of 2012 prize. Forget the YA label- it will be one of the best books I read this year. There is violence as well as profanity. However, it’s about WWII and a young British spy who has been captured by the Nazis so I kind of knew it wasn’t going to be a pretty read.

For a more thorough review you can check out Hope is the Word or Semicolon.

And while you are at Hope is the Word, why not participate in Read Aloud Thursday!

2 thoughts on “Read Aloud Thursday: Our Week in Books

  1. We often attempt to beat movies to the screen by trying to read the books they are based on first. Upcoming movies are a great motivator. We too are reading through Tolkien as a family right now.

    And thanks for the Verity recommendation. I just saw that it is currently the leader in starred reviews from the major review publications this year — it’s the only one to get 6 starred reviews so far. It’s good to see you vouch for it too…

  2. Your posts of what you’re reading to Ruth inspire me! I’ve taken to looking for books for the DLM at the library instead of relying on our board book stash at home. He’s enjoying all the new books! I like your idea about sharing your favorites with your children. I feel the same way–like I’m depriving them of something if I read it to them first. (I especially feel this way about Anne of GG, for some reason.) You’re right, though–it depends on the child, and it’s a first time for them anyway, whether it’s a listening or a reading experience. My first experience with Narnia was as a read-aloud, and I’ve NEVER forgotten it.

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying Code Name Verity! Wouldn’t it be fun to discuss it in real life!

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