A few weeks ago, David made a comment to me that completely broke my heart, though it was one I knew was coming soon. He said, "Mommy, once I'm in middle school, you can't read to me anymore." Ouch.
Now, to understand the depth of that comment, you have to understand the special bond that David and I share because we read together. We have been reading books together at night since he was a toddler, and once we hit the chapter books, that's when the journeys began. He and I have traveled the world together and learned so many amazing things together by the simple sharing of books. We took a journey into the life of a fifth grader with dyslexia who struggled to stand up against a school bully, we journeyed through a third grader's change of life after he developed bacterial meningitis and ended up losing his legs, we learned all about blindness and the process that a dog goes through to become a seeing-eye dog, we traveled to New York City to get a first hand account of the tragedies that took place on 9/11, and we've journeyed to Jerusalem and back through a fictional perspective of the end times.
Many of these journeys took place through a single chapter book, while others took place through a series of 20-40 chapter books. I didn't even know what a gift I was giving to my child by opening his life up to the world of reading, nor did I know what a gift I was giving myself by going on each journey with him. Even when we went on long trips, we'd find books on CD so we could listen to a book read to us for hours on end rather than pre-exposing him to little video games and such. Those just proved to be more journeys that we went on together as a family. I never forced him to read aloud to me, but somehow he developed a fluency of his own and became a good reader. His teachers have let me know that the exposure he's had to such high level books have proven to put him at a very high academic ability, stating that there is not a single book they will read in fifth grade that will even begin to challenge him. The best thing that our journeys through books have done for us, though, was that our experiences and travels only served as incredible bonding experiences because we did them together. I will miss them. I will miss traveling to new places with him and learning new things with him. I guess I am just going to have to get a second copy of everything he reads so I can read alongside of him instead of with and to him.
However, he's NOT in sixth grade yet, so I am cherishing every page we still turn together, and when I hear him ask me to read his library book to him, I'm there by his side in an instant, just like I was yesterday after we came home from the library with a new book. I love that he loves the library and always has a book in mind that he's wanting to read next.
David knows he is a good reader and that he has excellent comprehension, but to this day he still tells me that he's a good reader because I read to him. If you are the parent of a school-age child, please don't miss the opportunities you have to read with and to your child. Yes, it's important for them to read alone to develop their own fluency, but reading to them is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. It's also one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself, creating memories and learning experiences that will last a lifetime.
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.