I’ve had my nose in a book as long as I can remember. I have stacks of books near my bed, shelves of them throughout my house, and countless books that I either gave away or sold at various low points in my life. I’m working on replacing them.
I remember being read to when I was little…I remember my mother reading Kipling’s Just So Stories to us at bedtime…I remember learning the rhymes in the Real Mother Goose book.
I also remember – very vaguely – learning to read. My first sentence – "I am a little gray donkey" from a book that had been my mother’s – something like Fables and Fairy Tales of Long Ago or something like that. (The book itself is upstairs, but if I attempt to get it, I know one of my sleeping kids will hear me and wake up, so the title will just have to wait.) I don’t remember a whole lot more about the learning part of it…it just seems like boom – I was off and reading.
Today I was home with Alex while Bill brought Julia to swimming class. (Both kids are signed up, but Alex is a bit under the weather today, so he didn’t go this time.) (Gee, could I be more insecure?) We sat together in the oversized chair in our living room and Alex, well, he read to me. Read from these little books he and his classmates put together in kindergarten every few days. Simple little stories, a lot of repetition…but still – he was reading. Books. To me.
I can’t describe how cool and amazing that was. I mean, he’s been doing it for a while – usually sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor while I make dinner. But today we read about 14 of these little books, one after the other, and I listened and watched in utter delight as he confidently read the words he knew and carefully sounded out the ones he wasn’t sure of.
And he doesn’t just drone on in a monotone. No, he’s got a fabulous kindergarten teacher who reads with expression – and he’s got me (I, too, read with expression. And accents. I do a mean Dora impersonation too, which is a little bit disturbing, but it amuses me.), and he’s got my husband (who finished reading Cinderella to the kids before bed tonight) reading to him (and to Julia) often. And he’s got a great ear for the music and rhythm of the spoken word. Alex is an excellent mimic.
Therefore – when he reads, his voice – halting and hesitant at times though it may be – rises and falls, loudly and softly, appropriately expressive. It’s unbearably cute.
My firstborn child is learning to read.
Isn’t that the coolest thing?