My son and I read every evening at bedtime. Besides yoga, it’s my favorite time of day … restful, calming. The close of the night usually ends with his stating, “Mom, wake me up when you get to a picture.” I think this partially defeats the point of reading at bedtime, falling asleep. He usually wants to read books that have pictures, understandably so, and his type of books are usually full of graphics.
We’ve moved on to Kindle books, lately, though. There are so many great children’s books available for free on Amazon’s daily top 100 free titles (FREE, trust me, FREE). Most are cute story lines, some with pictures and some without. He’s built up a Kindle library almost bigger than my own and finds great pleasure in that fact. Some are actually pretty good (you hear me, Stick Dog Wants Hamburger and Pedro, the Ugliest Dog in the World?). And I can’t leave out Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, which is really great!
We also make up our own stories from time to time, too. He mostly wants to hear my tales of make-believe adventure, ala The Princess Bride, but also likes to know things that have happened in the past. I try to tell him about fun times from my own childhood, growing up with squabbling siblings, creating our own games in the backyard, walking our well-trained dog that we could ‘sic’ on the neighborhood kids if need be, and being afraid of my dad’s horses since that stupid Shetland pony bit me once.
Our house now is in a regular neighborhood, so my little guy especially enjoys the farm stories he finds so exotic. Me getting chased by a giant pig or peeing my pants because I wouldn’t go behind a tree, my brother riding his bike over the pond dam into the water. His eyes get big when I tell him how we buried a dead bird and dug it up several days later to see how it had decomposed. The worst admission was about getting busted for throwing gravel up in the air as cars were driving down our street. How did they know it came from our house when we were positioned across the street at the time???
Little guy’s are more a stream-of-consciousness-type of narration, usually involving dogs, fishing and/or playing ball. He’s all about playing ball … basketball, soccer, you name it. I love that he is already very interested in language and narrative, too, though. He tries so hard to make things up before the inevitable fruition of “THE END.”
His attention has now moved on from so-called baby books, but at five-years old he doesn’t quite have the attention span for all chapter books yet. We’ve made it through Charlotte’s Web, Stewart Little and The Dog who Saved Christmas so far. Even those have some terms that require explanation. He is, however, very choosey with each night’s selection.
He’s getting it. He thinks it’s fun to read. He’s not going to be like his dad who’s only ever read The Old Man and the Sea. He’s going to expand his vocabulary and his horizons along the way. This fall, he might just be the most well-read kindergartner his new teacher has ever known. And I know he’ll tell those kids a story or two!