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The Real Way We Read Books to Our Children

The Evolution of Reading My Kids a Book

When my little angels want to read a book (or two) as a family, we like to snuggle up together. They always sit quietly, anticipating my every word as I read them new tales and they look in awe at some of the stunningly beautiful pictures. At the end, they graciously thank me for encouraging their love for reading. Just kidding — this is what reading to my preschool-aged kids really looks like . . .

Sister: Mom, mom, mom, mom! Mom? Mom? MMMMMOOOOOOMMMMMM!
Me: What?
Sister: Can we read a book?
Me: Sure! (Silent pat on the back. My kids love to read and are going to be geniuses!) Go pick one out.
Brother: I want to pick one out too!
Me: OK, you both can pick one. We'll read two. (Time ticks by as they pull out no less then 100 books each . . .)
Me: I'm going count to five, and if your book is not picked out, then no book for you! (Laugh to myself about awesome Soup Nazi reference that kids clearly don't understand.) One, two, three, four . . . (Kids return both holding the very same books they always pick — and that we've read every day for the past four months.)
Sister: (Is holding Frozen, the book.) Can I sit in the middle?
Brother: (Is holding Harry the Dirty Dog.) No! It's my turn to sit in the middle!
Me: Nope, Mommy sits in the middle.
Brother: Wait! Don't start. I need to get my blankets.
Me: OK. (Time ticks by . . .) I'm going to count to five, and if you're not ready, I'm gonna start reading. One, two, three, four, four and a half, five. "Harry the Dirty . . ."
Brother: (Comes running back, sobbing.) Mom! You started without me!
Me: (Kisses and hugs all around.) I'm sorry, buddy, but I told you I was going to start. OK, so the name of this book is "Harry the Dirty . . ."
Sister: (Just learned about the parts of a book at school.) Who is the author? Illustrator? Who is the book dedicated to? When was the book copied right? (Grabs book.) Did it get a special gold medal?
Me: (After answering battery of questions, I take the book back.) OK, so, "Harry is a white dog with black spots who liked . . ."
Sister: Mama!
Me: Yes?
Sister: (Points to illustration.) This is me, and that's my brother.
Brother: No! I want to be the butterfly!
Sister: No, I'm the butterfly, because butterflies are girls. And you're the bird, because birds are boys.
Me: (So maybe they won't be geniuses, but definitely scholars). Moving on. "Who liked everything except taking a bath." (Turns page.)
Brother: Mom wait! Wait! (Grabs book and turns back to first page.)
Me: Yes?
Brother: (Points to picture and screams.) Harry is a dog, and my neighbors have a dog!!!!!
Me: That's true! Great observation. (So maybe they won't be scholars, but definitely bookworms.) OK, moving on . . . (Retrieve book once again and turn back to page two.) "Then he ran away from home."
Sister: Mom, can you stop? I need to go to the bathroom.
Me: Sure, hurry up. (As the time passes and my patiences grows thin, I notice that sister is definitely done using the restroom.) Hey, honey, are you coming back?
Sister: (Yells from the bathroom) I'm brushing my teeth!
Me: OK then, so I'm gonna start reading . . .
Brother: I want to brush my teeth! (Runs to bathroom.)
Me: I thought you guys really wanted to read books!?
Sister and Brother: We do! (Both come running back.)
Me: Now, where were we? "He played where they were fixing the street and got very dirty."
Sister: Mom! One time at school I got dirty because I got paint on my shirt and my mom couldn't get it out with the special soap so we had to throw it away in the trash. And I was very sad because it was my favorite shirt, well not really my favorite shirt, my Elsa shirt is my favorite shirt, but my mom won't let me wear it all . . .
Me: Right, so, "He played at the railroad . . ."
Brother: (Grabs book and screams!) CHOOOOOOO CHOOOOOOO! Mamamamamamama, mama! Look at that choo choo.
Me: (Grabs the book back.) Yep, awesome. " . . . and got even dirtier."
Sister: Mom?
Me: What?
Sister: Can we watch Frozen?
Brother: YEAH! YEAH! FROZEN!!!!!
Me: (Exhausted.) Sure. Why not? (Maybe they'll be animators.)

Source: Flickr user nerissa's ring

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