A while back, I started reading YA novels aloud to Willy. The goal was to improve his comprehension skills for his school work. But now that goal has been accomplished, he’s doing better, and we keep on going. Now, it’s an opportunity for me to share with my son the joys I found in reading certain books from my own adolescence.
He’s not always an enthusiastic participant. He’s enjoyed some books better than others. His reactions to the stories are certainly different than mine were. But he’s always willing to listen and he’s always eager to spend the time with me. Especially if we break it up in Willy-sized chunks (three to seven pages in a sitting with three to six sittings a night).
It makes me think a bit wistfully of the days when the boys were little. You know, that time when parents are “supposed to” read aloud to their kids. It makes me remember how painful it was when the boys refused to participate in this sacred familial ritual. It was hard on both Mark and I, because we’re avid readers and we wanted to share that with the boys. It just didn’t work. Their attention spans were too short and the verbal component didn’t really work for them.
We adjusted and started watching videos with the boys, which they loved. We talked about what we were watching so it wasn’t such a passive activity, but it still wasn’t the same. (Not that they ever really sat still for a movie, any more than they sat still for a book, but that’s more about being sedentary than being passive.)
Now that Willy and I can read together and we can both enjoy it, I can’t help but hope that someday I will be able to do the same with Alex and Ben. Ben is getting there, but Alex would still prefer to read to himself. Maybe someday I’ll get the opportunity to share my the love of reading with all three of my boys, just as I always wanted.