We Read

It's not too late to join the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge over at the Two Writing Teachers!

It’s not too late to join the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge over at the Two Writing Teachers!

We read to our kids every night before bed.  Every night, no exceptions.  We have never missed a night.   I started reading books before bed to Maddie when she was 6 months old, so for her this has meant over 1,500 nights of bedtime stories.  For Katie, this has already meant over 500 bedtime stories.

When we are tired, we read.  When we are sick, we read.  When it’s way past our bedtime, we read.  When we are on vacation, we read.  When there is a babysitter, they read.  When we have other things on our mind, we read.

It is the one rule I can say we have never wavered on.  We read.

Some of our best conversations have been over books.  Maddie has come to love the writing of Mo Willems and Kevin Henkes.  I know she’ll never forget Corduroy being alone in that huge department store, even though she seems to have outgrown the book.  Through books, our inquisitive Maddie has discovered the exclamation point, the speech bubble, and the small, black, tornado-like scribble above a character’s head that means he is angry.  Recently, Katie has discovered the delightful adventure of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and I know that soon she, too, will fall in love with Corduroy and his missing button. 

Even when I’m yawning through the book, it’s my favorite part of the day.  Even when Maddie picks the ever-lovin’ princess adventure book again, and I try to skip parts but she notices every time, it’s my favorite part of the day.  Even when Katie will only let Daddy read the book and I get to listen to their giggles on the other side of the wall, it’s my favorite part of the day.

Every night.  We read.

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17 thoughts on “We Read

  1. I admire your insistence on reading nightly. Sometimes, probably more often than not, my exhaustion gets the best of me, They read daily, but I really need to read to them more. Leah would much rather read to us, which is fine, I can remember always wanting to read to my mom, yet I am so impatient, sometimes even annoyed because I don’t get to that next task. But…thanks for the reminder of importance. It goes so far beyond the acquisition of vocabulary and writing techniques – it’s about modeling and most importantly, about spending quality time with your kids. 🙂 I love the line “I try to skip parts but she notices every time.” I used to do this quite frequently with the kids I babysat, sometimes on purpose and other time by accident, they are just too darn smart! Keep reading!

  2. Oh this brings back memories of my three. The discoveries, the conversations, the fatigue, the trying to skip a part (not!). I clearly remember a time when I was too tired to read the next chapter in the first Harry Potter book to my at the time 9 year old. He said, give me the book, I’ll read it. It was a happy/sad moment. Loved that he was wanting more and could do it for himself, sad that he was taking my job away! These are the sweetest moments.

  3. I love the rhythm of your writing. Not just this post, but others too. I miss reading every night with my children. Now that they are in high school and they have so much homework, that routine is a thing of the past. Like you, it was something I never skipped. It was my favorite part of the day. I loved when my girls read the book to me, before they were even reading. Your slice brings back wonderful memories.

  4. Although I don’t have children of my own. In my classroom, everyday we read and it is my favourite part of the day! I am sure as your children get older they will remember reading with you as their favourite part of their day.

  5. We have not read together for a long time and I miss it still. It was always the best part of the day. And I hate to admit that I was part of the reason for the demise. It was during the Harry Potter series that it happened. After the boys went to bed, I still had energy and wanted to know what happened next. I ended up staying up and reading the WHOLE BOOK. I was never guilty of spoilers, but my boys hated that I already knew what was going to happen and that we weren’t find out together. I thought I had learned my lesson for good, but then a year or so ago we were reading The Hunger Games and the same thing happened. I wish I was not so addicted to a good story and resolution!
    And now the boys are off in college and my youngest (a high schooler) doesn’t like me to read to him…I blew it when I had it.:(

  6. It’s so hard not to waiver on following rules, isn’t it? But this one is sacred. I can feel it in your writing. Sacred is good. Sacred will be remembered by your girls forever.

  7. When we are tired, we read. When we are sick, we read. When it’s way past our bedtime, we read. When we are on vacation, we read. When there is a babysitter, they read. When we have other things on our mind, we read.
    I love this! The repetition and the cataloguing underline the importance of reading in the Murphy house – and the joy of it, too!

  8. Your kids will be strong readers and writers because of it. I wish all parents read to their kids; what a difference it would make for our students. I used to make up stories and put Lia in them and just go off the cuff making things up. She would be a princess, or a super hero or…She loved that more than anything, and then as she got older she would read to me, and of course I would fall asleep.

  9. “Even when Maddie picks the ever-lovin’ princess adventure book again, and I try to skip parts but she notices every time, it’s my favorite part of the day”……I remember those days!! ha ha Dana, your passion and love of reading come through so strong in this piece, and your children will always share that with you! 🙂

  10. We read every night too. I can’t imagine a night without reading, but I do miss those days once in awhile where you could skip a page here or there without notice.

  11. Oh man, I wish I had your ability to stay consistent with the nightly reading! I was so excited to find the Auto-Read option on iPad kid books and I let it read to Matt for a while. Lazy lazy. Tomorrow we will read. You’re totally building wrong little readers and book lovers.

  12. Oh Dana, this is my family. We read everywhere. We brought books on vacation. Now my 9 year old has read all 7 of the harry potter books this year. I still have to read to her. The threat of punishment that works in my house is the threat of not reading before bed. That changes them like nothing else. (And we still get to read). I so love this post, the repetition, the strength, the solemnness. Beautifully written!!

  13. I love this Dana! This reminds me of a slice. It only gets better-wait until they have a favorite story that they read to you-priceless. Or when you share conferences with each other because you both got to the good parts in your book! I feel as slice coming on!

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