Last night I finished my second book of 2020. (My goal is to read 50 books in 2020.) This was a special book for me because I didn’t read it alone. I read it aloud to my ten-year-old daughter, Anna.
The book was The Giver by Lois Lowry. It won Lowry her second Newbery Medal – Number the Stars in 1990 and The Giver in 1994. In the book, 12-year-old Jonas lives in a futuristic society where there is no pain, fear, or hatred. Everyone and everything is basically the same. Jonas is chosen to be the communities next Receiver of Memory, which gives him authority in his community. While training for his upcoming job, Jonas learns some dark secrets about what would otherwise seem a utopian society.
The Giver is a fantastic book to read whether you’re ten, like my daughter, or in your 40s, like me. In fact, The Atlantic wrote an article about reading The Giver as an adult. My daughter and I both couldn’t wait to see what happened next. We would talk after we read each night about what happened and what we thought would happen next.
We read together almost every night. In fact, our goal for 2020 is to read together every night before bed. Tonight will be 27 nights in a row. We take turns choosing the books. I picked The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. She chose Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. There are nights where I am out of town or Anna has a sleepover and we will FaceTime to read together. Last night, we were coming home from a day-trip to Washington, D.C., and I read the last chapter to Anna while my wife drove.
The 15-20 minutes we read together each night is almost always the best part of my day. We usually cuddle in bed, read, and talk about our book. It is such a wonderful routine to help us both unwind for the day and get our minds ready for bed.
In my classroom, I usually assign reading for homework. There are no reading logs or other forms of accountability. Reading regularly is just a good habit to create. There are times when parents tell me they have a hard time getting their child to read each night. I often suggest reading aloud to them.
When parents ask me what they can do to help their child become a better reader or enjoy reading more, I always tell them about reading with Anna. I explain to them how we created this routine and both cherish that time together. I am able to model fluent reading for her and help her comprehend text at a deeper level.
Most importantly, I get to spend quality time with my little girl. She won’t be little much longer, so I’m going to read every book I can to her while I can. Really, we both win.