Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Make Mine Sticky, Please . . .

Neither books nor people have velcro sides - we don't naturally attach to each other. In the beginning there must be a bonding agent - parent, relative, neighbor, teacher, or librarian - somene who attaches child to book. - Jim Trelease


I had stood with my back to the shelf, perusing the online card catalogue at the library last November. Aubrey was surveying the available dvd's; Keller was snug in his sling; Israel and I were discussing the merits of reading Dracula.*

I had been reluctant six months earlier to allow the then 13 year old boy to ingest the content material of the classic. However, maturity and growth had presented themselves within his personhood over the ensuing six months, and I was now willing to revisit the story. Finding the location of the book, he took off to snag it, and I turned absent-mindedly to the shelf behind me.

I approached it, reading spine labels quickly, and stopped to consider several titles. One book in particular caught my attention, and I pulled it out of it's nested home to look at the cover. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.

"Oh. It's a directory of sorts. Nevermind." I told myself, as I slid it back into it's place. I removed myself from that particular bookshelf and wandered the library in search of my children.

Now April, I'd taken a liking to Jamie's blog and parenting premise. I considered her blog tag line: on the journey of intentional, professional motherhood. I could relate in a whole new way, as I'd entered motherhood again. I had reared, and was rearing my four older children to the best of my ability, choosing to learn and grow with them, and parent them well these past 23 years. Yet, I still felt the gaps, and the missteps that I'd made along the way. Now that Keller had come along, I wanted to continue my place of self-growth to his benefit. That's where Jamie's ideal came in. The ring of intentional parenthood held great appeal.

So it was, when Jamie recommended The Read-Aloud Handbook, I quickly requested the book online through the library - completely unaware that I had held the book in my hands just a few months prior and rejected it.

My mouth stood agape when I picked up my precious parcel at the library counter. My photographic memory immediately recalled the covers' appearance, and I began to wonder: what was this amazing coincidence?

To further the matter, shortly after cracking open the spine of this delicious read, I was doubly stunned to discover that the founders of our homeschool curriculum, Sonlight, agreed with the author's premise, quoting him as he states the value and import of reading aloud to your family members. I didn't really need any additional convincing evidence, but the positive input was received, just the same.

I've since digested the entire volume. I've agreed and nodded my head. I've queried my husband of his childhood read-aloud experiences (he doesn't consider himself a Lifetime Love-to-Reader, with astounding evidence as to why - no recollection of books or having had been read to as a child, except in a remedial fashion) and shared my experiences (with the knowledge that I am a rare breed of natural reader, fueled by my Mom's read-aloud input, as well as numerous teachers who read aloud to me as I grew up). I've analyzed my read-aloud input into each of my children, and the subsequent out-put thereof. I've reconsidered and adjusted slightly my methodology with Keller St. John, and quickened my read-aloud endeavors when Keeton is present. I've insisted that my friend read the book (which, incidentally, was a gift to her when her daughter was born - and the book promptly took up residence on the shelf unread for the same reason I replaced the book to the shelf . . .); and I've already joined the cause that Jamie began by sharing the book here, in my latest post about Tot School.

My girlfriend and I regularly discuss our library finds, and I've a renewed -perhaps zealous - desire to route my family's Love-to-Read quotient to high gear. After all, it is never to late, as my oldest daughter has already proven to me.

Yes, my husband nods, it is a worthy endeavor. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, a Dr. Suess book was making it's way to our mailbox ~ a purchase my husband made on the referral of a friend.

As he sat on the couch, reading aloud to his little boy, my heart sang the praises of the existance of velcro in our home.

Make mine sticky, please . . .


*Mr. Trelease makes a very palatable case for reading those books that are less antiseptic. See Chapter 8: Sustained Silent Reading.


Debi said...

Hey Angi,
I have that book long ago purchased at Barnes and Noble. I had it in my hands not to long ago when digging through a box. I need to go outside to that new storage barn and get it out again to reread it.
Thanks for the visit. Check out the changes I made today and let me know what you think.
Your son is so handsome by the way, the littlest one of course! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Wow! AMazing- I am once again amazed at how you put experiences into words! By the way I started it Sunday evening and am about to sit down with it now. Thanks for all of your encouragement, and sisterly companionship! Love, Me.

Missus Wookie said...

I love the Read Aloud Handbook, that and "Babies need books" are two that convinced me twenty years ago to home school. Before marriage and kids that is.

Still recommend it to people as one of the best lists of books around.

Your way with words is wonderful to read - thanks for typing them :)

Monica said...

I learned about The Read Aloud Handbook when my kids were little. Loved it!!! And I am so grateful today that my kiddos are readers of good things.

gilSilvers said...

Dh wonders aloud if there is an Algebra Allowed Handbook.

rjb said...

Angi, if you haven't read them yet, the "Honey for a Child's/Teenager's/Woman's Heart" books are wonderful books that not only reinforce the benefits of having a relationship with books throughout one's life, but also contain several very good book and author recommendations; they have been feeding my library list for years. :-)

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