Monday, May 31, 2010

Our exciting journey

We've been taking the same journey for a couple of years now. We started in a mole burrow, and ventured to a river bank, watched that mole learn to oar a boat, and make a new friend with a rat.
We've walked through the Wild Wood with Mole, and huddled in that hollowed out tree with him as the snow storm raged. As Rat ventured out to find his friend, and found the doormat to Badger's home, we mused at how Mole couldn't figure out that a doormat meant there must be a door close by. We followed a toad on all sorts of escapades. We shake our heads at his boasting, and laugh through his tantrums. That Toad, he sure is a character.
The term Washer Woman has been used so many times in this house, it is our own inside joke.

I don't know if I can express how fun it is for us to read "The Wind in the Willows." I started reading it to Sean when he was 5, having never read it myself. We've read it about six times now, and he never tires of it. Neither do I.
It has become our own little book club book.
We discuss Toad's inability to control himself and his need to have the best. Nothing holds his attention for very long, and Toad throws himself head first into things, then quickly is bored with that and on to the next. He is naughty, yet his friends forgive him and try so hard to help him.
Sean loves the end when they take back Toad Hall from the Stoats and Weasels.

Our copy of the book is an inexpensive hard cover edition. My mom bought it years ago at a sale, and it was on the shelf along with other classics like "Jungle Book," "Hunchback of Notre Dame," to name a few. (My mom loved books.) We've tried to read "Jungle Book," but he keeps going back to "The Wind in the Willows."
When I first started reading "The Wind in the Willows," to him, I remembered what a treat it was when my first grade teacher would read "Charlotte's Web" to us each day. Each day she read one chapter, and it has stuck with me all these years. I was transported to a different world, and I could have listened to her read all day.
I then read it on my own when I was about 6, and cried and cried when Charlotte died.
I was so attached to the characters, and loved the feeling of escaping into a story.
I still love a story, I see them everywhere.
My mom used to spend hours reading to me and the friends in my neighborhood. She would read as long as we were content to sit and listen.
There are all sorts of studies and reports on how important it is to read to children. The list of benefits is quite long, and I agree with all of it. But I think there should be a list of benefits for the parent.
So I'll attempt to put one together for you--though I've not yet received my grant to study this subject, so this isn't scientific ;o)
Benefits for Parents who Read to Their Child
1. You get to know your child better. Reading a book and exploring the characters together gives the parent a chance to get to know the child on a different level. By asking age-appropriate questions, parents can gain an understanding of their child's personality. What they find amusing, frustrating, or emotionally touching, and even morally wrong or right can give a parent insight into other subjects to explore. You can get a good gauge of whether your child is sharing your values, and even explore where they are getting their ideas of right and wrong.
2. You get some time to relax. If you read at bedtime, it gives you a chance to unwind and spend some relaxed time with your child. This is completely different from watching a TV program with a child. There is a different atmosphere and vibe when you're reading to a child.
3. You can relive some of your childhood. Whether it's a book your parents read to you, you read on your own, or have never read before, reading to  your child gives you an excuse to relive some of those wonderful childhood moments.

As I said, this isn't scientific, and these are the things that popped into my head as benefits. Feel free to leave a comment and add to this list.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to add this one to our list. I found out recently that Michaels sells Great Illustrated Classics for $3.

    Reading time for us is an excuse/motivation to sit down and just spend time together.