Monday, October 14, 2013

The Molly and Mommy Mega Mania Miraculous Magical Read Aloud

It's been a rainy few days, light rain, heavy rain, drizzly rain, scattered rain, just plain gray, dreary rain. But there is something about the rain that slows us down at times. The house just feels cozier. Friday night we put on our pj's, we ate pizza, and watched movies. It was pouring when we went to bed and you could hear the rhythmic sound of the rain hitting the roof. When I woke up on Saturday, it felt like a holiday. Shannon's soccer tournament was cancelled this weekend. So instead of waking up at 5:00 a.m. to drive an hour away for the first game time of the day, we got to sleep-in. We had nowhere to go, there was nothing on the schedule, we woke up not to an alarm but naturally, I sat on my living room couch and finished my book, Molly and I read aloud another chapter of Mary Poppins. It was great! 

On Friday evening, while in my pj's folding laundry and ironing sheets in my room, I popped in a favorite movie of mine, You've Got Mail. Have you ever watched a movie or read a book and thought if I didn't have the life I had, I would live that life? Well, if I didn't become a teacher and move to Virginia and then become a stay at home mom to my kids, I would want to be Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail. I would want to own an enchanting little children's book shop in New York City and have read aloud everyday and help children pick out their next favorite book. There is a part in the movie that Meg Ryan (Kathleen Kelly) is talking to Tom Hanks about her mother. The book store used to be her mother's and she tells him that, "It wasn't just that she was selling books, she was helping people become whoever it was they were going to be because when you read a book as a child it becomes a part of your identity in a way no other reading in your whole life does." This is my favorite line. It's kind of ironic watching the movie now. I think it came out in 1998 and Kathleen Kelly's book store is being put out of business because a big discount chain bookstore opened in her neighborhood. Nowadays, you can't even find a big chain book store because of Amazon and e-readers. Now I love Amazon, but there is also something about being in a book store, seeing and feeling the books in person, reading the back jacket or the first few pages with the book actually in your hand and not on the computer. I have a kindle, but I prefer the paper book. I like moving my book mark as I read each day, flipping through the pages to see where the end of the chapter is, and sometimes reading with a pencil in hand and writing a note or underlining a great line. I read aloud to Molly's class the other day and a little girl saw me take the front flap of the book and move it as a placeholder for when I come back to read the next time. She asked me what I was going to do when we get toward the end of the book and the front book flap doesn't reach our place. I showed her that's when we start using the back flap of the book. She thought this was the best idea ever and that I was a genius for thinking of this.

There's another scene in the movie when Meg Ryan is reading aloud Boy by Roald Dahl to the children in her store. As I watch this scene, you can see the children completely engaged in the story. Now, I know it is only a movie, but I see the same thing when I go into classrooms and read aloud.  Reading aloud to Molly's class is a highlight of my week. There is something about certain books that scream, even cry to be read out loud! Some books are so rich with language and vocabulary that you lose something when the words are not said aloud, words like flabbergasted, ramshackle, pandemonium, vermicious, and fishmonger. And then there are words that are throughout a book, almost on every page and you don't quite know the correct pronunciation so you look it up on the computer so you can hear the word. That would be perambulator in Mary Poppins for me.

I've just finished reading The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. It has been in my to-be-read pile for over a year. I used to talk to Molly's principal often about books before she passed away. This was the last book that we spoke about. I was in her office asking her a question and it happen to be sitting on her desk and I had recently bought it myself, but hadn't read it yet. Well, I finally read it this past week. The author was 22 when she wrote the book. When Alice was in fourth grade, her father, who happened to be an elementary school librarian, suggested reading together for 100 days. When Alice's older sister was in fourth grade, she no longer wanted her father to read to her, and he was in fear that the same would happen with Alice. Well, the streak of the father-daughter read aloud lasted until the day she went to college. The Reading Promise is a memoir of their reading.

Molly and I started our own streak. I shared with Molly what the book was about and said we could try for 100 days. So far, we are up to day 16. January 6 will be day 100. I printed out a calendar so that she could mark off the days. She suggested that we write down the books on the day that we finished them. Just like Alice and her father, it wasn't a hard thing to start. Molly and I read quite often together. I have read to all of my children, but it is Molly that is the most engaged and loves the closeness of snuggling up to one another and sharing a story. Just like Alice, Molly is my youngest and as a parent, sometimes you try to hold on to things as long as possible because you know one day we will no longer have these moments.

So will Molly and I get to 100 days? I don't know, we have a few holidays in there and school breaks that tend to throw us out of our routine, but we will try. Molly even named our streak, if you can call 16 days a streak...The Molly and Mommy Mega Mania Miraculous Magical Read Aloud!

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