I had another post prepared for today… but then a miracle happened…
I showed up at Tornado Boy’s house for two days of “Grammy Time.” Kindergarten doesn’t kick off until Tuesday and preschool ended early, leaving mom and dad in a lurch. When I walked in the door, I received my usual whirlwind of hugs, but the first question out of the tornado’s mouth was, “Do you want me to read a book to you?”
Not Legos, no request to build a spaceship or visit the park, no plea to use his old grammy as a jungle-gym. Nope.
“Do you want me to read a book to you?”
“Why, sure,” I replied, fully expecting a play by play narration through a picture book or a four-pager of his own creation.
I sat on the couch, and he climbed up beside me, tucked in tight, and opened Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop. Then page by page, he read me the entire book.
As I listened, I saw the world open up to him, a new superpower revealed, a lifetime of learning and adventure, of Treasure Island and Harry Potter, of Vonnegut and Cussler, Tolkien and Homer. He read to me slowly, sounding out the words, and he didn’t want my help when he got stuck. He was reading, and he too knew that something momentous was happening. He too recognized the magic in the letters and their sounds.
Just ask Jennie Fitzkee (A Teacher’s Reflections) about the power of reading aloud. We’ve read to Tornado Boy since the day he was born, and the local library has become a place of endless exploration. It’s paid off as another child discovers a world of imagination within his grasp, the miracle of words.
Grammy was so happy she could have cried. Then we played Legos, built a spaceship, went to the park, and wrestled. And he read Hop on Pop to me two more times.
Some favorite quotes about reading:
A book is a gift you can open again and again. —Garrison Keillor
To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. —Victor Hugo
Books are a uniquely portable magic. —Stephen King
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. —Anna Quindlen
Wear the old coat and buy the new book. —Austin Phelps
I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. —Jorge Luis Borges
Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. —Groucho Marx