Most parents seem stop reading to their children when they are somewhere between second and fourth grade. The bedtime ritual is dropped, the time for homework starts to pick up, and more classes and lessons are added after school. It’s no longer easy to fit in reading time.
One of the things that we have done to keep our family close together is continue the family reading time at night. Now that my children are 17 years-old and 14 years-old we may not meet until 10 pm to read for 20 minutes or half and hour but we make the time and do it 5 to 7 nights a week. I think it has benefited all of us. I can read the “tough” theme books with them and we can talk about our perspectives and discuss our family beliefs (religious and societal) in context with the ideas. This has expanded both their vocabularies and fostered a love for good books and stories.
We started with Little House on the Prairie books when my daughter was 8 and my son was 5. We made snow candy like they did on the prairie, and I found the all sugar peppermint candy sticks like they had and we had those for a Christmas treat. We read the My Side of the Mountain trilogy by Jean Craighead George and talked about the differences of doing what he did then and could it be done now. Later, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and the Hunger Games series how are they similar and different. Could these things happen in our lifetime?
Now we are re-reading the entire Harry Potter series. We read them when the kids were younger but now re-reading they talk more about foreshadowing and how did we miss these clues before? The stories take on a whole new meaning to them. We debate is Voldemort or Umbridge the personification of evil. Why? We are almost half-way through book five – “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” I am almost sad to see us getting through the end of the series. My daughter will be moving away in a few months and I will only have my son left to read with but I will continue. I think we both will need it.