Monday, January 6, 2014

100 Days of Reading and a Few Lessons I Have Learned

Today is day 100!!!! Not the 100th day of school, but 100 days of reading. Back on September 29th, Molly and I started The Molly and Mommy Mega Mania Miraculous Magical Read Aloud. We wanted to see if we could read aloud for 100 days...straight. 

We did it!

We read on Halloween and Thanksgiving. We read on the day we drove up to New York for Christmas and the day we drove home. We read Christmas morning while we waited for Shannon and Timmy to wake up. We read on the train into New York City when we went to see Cinderella. We even read over the phone when Molly went with Chris and Shannon to a soccer tournament over a weekend. We did not miss one day!

It started when I read the book The Reading Promise. A great book about a father and daughter that started a reading promise of a 100 days when the daughter was in fourth grade that didn't stop until the day she left for college. 

Molly and I started our own 100 day reading streak and in the past 100 days we have read eight books.

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail

James and the Giant Peach

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Comes Back

Beryl A Pig's Tale


Tuck Everlasting

The Cricket in Times Square

What have I learned in the last 100 days for all this?

1. Well, first, Molly loves sequels. Molly doesn't like when a story comes to an end. When we finished Mary Poppins, we had to read the next one and for Christmas she got the third and fourth book. The last book we just finished was The Cricket in Times Square. Molly was not happy with the ending. 

"There just has to be another book, there just has to be!"

Now, I knew the book was a classic. I knew it had won a Newbery Award, but I had never read it myself and had no idea if there were any more books about Tucker the Mouse, Chester the Cricket and Harry the Cat. We went to Amazon, and sure enough, there is a whole series. So at the moment, we have moved onto Mary Poppins Opens the Door and then  Molly wants to read the fourth Mary Poppins book. She has a plan to then go back to The Cricket in Times Square series.

2. I have learned that once you start something, sometimes it takes on a life of its own and gains its own momentum. Once Molly and I started reading, it has led us to other books and know we have a whole list of books we want to read together. I even asked her if she wanted to read The Cricket in Times Square books on her own. She said "no," she wanted them to be part of the streak.

3. I have learned that small changes in routine can make a big difference. Molly and I didn't always read for a long time. Some days might have been only for 10 minutes just so we could put our X on the calendar, but after 100 days of reading we read eight books that otherwise we probably wouldn't have read. Can I apply this to other things in my life? Should I make a calendar for exercise? I HATE to exercise even though I know it is good for me. If I make a commitment to do it everyday, even if it's just for 10 minutes, that is better than the nothing I'm doing now. Making the commitment to reading EVERYDAY instead of just reading more really made a difference.

4. I have learned that I can have deep conversations about life and philosophy with a nine year old. This happened when we were reading Tuck Everlasting, a book about a family that drank from a spring of water and ever since that day, never changed. They had found the fountain of youth and would live forever. Isn't that what we all want? But after reading this book with Molly and then watching the movie, we talked about what it would really mean to live forever. Would we really want that? We decided that we would want to live long and happy lives with a beginning, a middle, and an end, but we wouldn't want to not have an end. Even the best books, the best stories have an end.

5. I have learned that reading together is very different than just reading by yourself. Molly and I kept each other accountable for the reading streak. There were times when I completely forgot we hadn't read and Molly remembered. When you have another person holding you accountable, it seems that you are more likely to succeed. Note to self, what else can I apply this to in my life?

6. I have learned that when reading aloud with Molly, we now have "inside" jokes if you will. We see something or hear something and it reminds us of a character or a word or a scene from one of the books we have read. We share something together because we have read the same books. Molly and I went to see Saving Mr. Banks together. After reading the first two Mary Poppins books, we saw the differences between the books and the Disney movie. We loved the part of the movie when Disney was trying to convince Mrs. Travers to sign over the rights. He told her that his copies of her books were so worn and dog eared because he had read them over and over again and that he would do them justice on the screen because he loved them so much. 

7. I have learned that there is magic in the books that we have read. Molly and I see things in our everyday lives that we might not have seen before…like this shadow that appeared on the kitchen floor that looks ever so much like our beloved Mary Poppins.

8. I have learned that the magic within the books can transport us to different places and different times without leave our chair in front of the fire place, but that we also can go visit these places in person.

Molly in the Great Hall at the Metropolitian Museum of Art. We took a trip to New York City and went to the museum all because of the book The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

This was Christmas Eve. We brought the book knowing we were going to Times Square. We just had to take a picture.

So today was 100 days…100 days of reading together. Molly and I celebrated by going to the movies together to see Frozen, again. She has fallen in love with this movie. It surprised me because from the commercials I was expecting a movie about a snowman, not a princess movie. But the singing was phenomenal, and we have two strong princesses that didn't need a man to rescue them, and in one scene, the girl rescued the guy. We were able to go to the movies today because there was no school. I know a lot of parents thought that the kids could have gone to school today, but Molly and I looked at this day as a gift. Molly didn't want to celebrate our accomplishment until this weekend, she wanted to do it on the 100th day and the only way that that was going to happen was if we got a snow day…or a left over ice day. Now, to find a copy of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen…I found out that Frozen is based on his story. Molly and I will have to read it…together.

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