We have recently been on holiday and we got an audio book of The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo to listen to on the journey and we loved it. In the tale, stories are depicted as bringing light and hope. There are other themes of love, forgiveness, heroism and stories, which provided lots of material for us to talk about together. We learn so much from reading the Bible together, but stories we read often provide a living example of a character quality lived out that the children can relate to. For example, we know we must forgive, but in Despereaux we see forgiveness lived out in the lives of the characters and the transforming power it had in their narrative. We saw the truth that to forgive means healing for ourselves, as well as being the right thing to do.
However, on a basic level, it was a great story to enjoy together * and it reminds me of the quote that I use as a measure for our books we read together – “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” C S Lewis. For me the key to wanting to read aloud with the children is finding books that we all enjoy.
I have shared before of my Isaiah principle and using the concept of small amounts of time to achieve goals. This year it has really borne fruit in being able to enjoy books together. I began by reading the Little House on the Prairie books with Miss N at bedtime and this quickly expanded to the younger children (Miss H nearly always chooses non-fiction – so far we have had a book on dinosaurs and currently we are reading a geography book, I love how different they all are, and Miss E the Peanuts cartoons or Batman stories, of course) I have even begun reading to my 11 year old Miss G this year and we have slowly made our way through Rosemary Sutcliffe’s Eagle of the Ninth. It’s not possible to read aloud with Miss Em who is not living with us at the moment – but the next best thing, we have both read Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier at the same time, which has been a lot of fun. And if you are wondering, Mr T and I do share books together too. We will sit and listen to an audio book in the evening together, while I crochet and Mr T models.
I suppose I just wanted to remind you that it is a lot of fun to share a book. I have had so much joy this year sharing books with my family. Even though I don’t have lots of time, we have busy lives and there are 7 of us at home, just 5 or 10 minutes every night (well no-one does something every night, but aiming for every night helps it happen most of the time) we have managed to read a lot together and make some great memories. And #keepingitreal, our read-a-louds during the day often consist of children poking each other, noise at inappropriate times and interruptions to change nappies on occasion, but I just persevere and we do get there in the end. It was a lot better when I let go of my need for it all to be perfect and accepted ‘good enough’. A benefit of the evening reading is that it does tend to be a lot less interrupted.
Be encouraged – it is worth trying to find the time and persevering through interruptions etc. There is a lot of joy to be found in sharing a story together 🙂
* Nb some parts of The Tale of Despereaux were hard going in that nasty stuff happened. I would recommend pre-reading yourself to check that you are happy with it.
P.S. The featured image is from Pixabay – where many people kindly provide images for use in the public domain