Reading ’round these parts


I’ve been feeling in a blogging slump lately. Not with the photo posts, there’s been plenty of those, and I have been trying to add little details of what we’ve been up to in those posts, so those of you that follow the blog to keep up with us should be somewhat in the know. But other stuff hasn’t been written about.

There are things that I’d like to write, but some days I feel a big lack of confidence in the writing department. Writing in and of itself isn’t something that comes easily to me (why start a blog then? I dunno.) But, I’m stubborn.

Anyways…. tonight I thought I’d share with you what reading looks like over here. We certainly do our share of reading. I realize this may not be how or why your family does read alouds, and that’s ok, this is what works for us.

When We Read:

I’ll admit, with the weather turning warmer (Thank you God!), we’ve been spending almost literally every spare minute out of doors. Which has lead to a slight decrease in the amount of time I’ve  been reading aloud to the kids. Most days we end up reading before bed, and somedays we read a few books in the morning.

What it Looks Like:

Generally speaking I mostly read without Zachary. I know, I know, start them when they’re young and all that… and I do think I’m going to start him soon, but… when I’m trying to read to the older kids and they’re all scrunched up as close as they can get, add in Z trying to grab and eat the book and it just makes it too much wiggly in not enough space (while trying to hold a book so everyone can see…). So, I usually leave him laying on the floor so at least he can listen. And honestly, sometimes if he’s tired and fussy, we just wait until he’s in bed.

If we’re reading picture books the kids all squish next to me, and take turns switching to sit next to me. Sometimes Karl still sits on my lap (not so much in the sticky weather) and that erases the “outside” person (not sitting next to me).

Jared reading

If we’re reading a chapter book, which doesn’t happen every day, (but, I’m *trying* to get it back to a more regular schedule) I usually have them spread out just a little. I have my limit for how much I can be squished by little people, they can be close, just not on top of me.

So far, with the chapter books, I haven’t had any issues with them getting antsy, but we haven’t tried more lengthly read-aloud times with those. I’ve found with the longer read-alouds it’s a skill to learn. With the picture books there’s a lot of starting and stopping and they’re usually pretty simple (and half memorized), but the chapter books I actually have to pay attention to and it’s a work out for my mouth. But, baby steps 🙂

Why We Read:

Way back a long time ago, I was complaining to my mom about one of the boys (I think it was John), not wanting to sit and read a book (I think he may have been just over a year?), she told me:

Well, you should have him at least finish the book before you let him get up and walk around, that way he learns how to finish something. He also learns how to sit still, because there will be times when he’ll have to sit still, and there won’t be a book, but he’ll already know how to do it because he’s had the chance to practice it.
{or something to that nature}

Now, when you’re expecting a, lets say 12-month-old, to sit still and listen to a book start to finish, be reasonable, don’t start with Blueberries for Sal. A shorter board book such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar would be much better option. I think sitting and being still is a learned thing, so if you’ve started reading to them young (and requiring them to sit still while doing so), they’ll get better at it. True story: I didn’t think it would happen, but now John (and Katherine) can sit indefinitely while being read to.

Another reason I read to the kids, especially before bedtime is the calming-down factor, for them, yes, but probably more for me. Usually by bedtime, my mama-tank is empty and has been running on fumes since about dinner time. So, needless to say, my mood from dinner time to bed time is usually a little on the short side.

But. When we sit down to read those last stories before bed I can feel the tension letting go. I’m still tired and I still need them to go to bed, but the shortness usually starts fading away. Which then leaves me free to tuck them in, say their prayers, kiss them goodnight and actually not be all flustered. And no, this doesn’t mean that every night is perfect, because there are definitely those nights where them asking for their 37th sip of water/fingernail cut/blanket adjusted/he’s talking/etc…. really gets to me. But, for those few minutes we’re sitting and reading, we’re able to just be without anything getting in the way.

And I know that, THAT is what they’re going to remember. Because I remember reading aloud with my mom and siblings when I was littler and those were some of the best times ever. {And I still wish my mom could come read aloud to me sometimes 😉 }


Do you have any favorite read-aloud memories or stories? Do share!