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the boys and books

Last week at church I was reading to the boys and as I started the second book someone asked how many books we read to them a week. "A week?" I answered. "How about a day!" Then of course I had to come up with a number for that, so off hand I said, "oh, twenty or thirty."

I don't think it's actually that many; not anymore, at least. Maybe back in the baby book days, but now that each book takes at least five minutes that would put us at well over an hour of reading a day, which we don't always reach. But sometimes we do! I think a more realistic number for books read is between ten and twenty. A lot, anyways.

Harvey especially is a voracious consumer of stories. When I'm talking with other parents about their children's taste in literature, I tell them that Harvey would listen to the phone book read aloud if we were enjoying it, because it would mean more reading time. Not that he doesn't have taste in the sort of stories that he wants to read, of course—there are certainly some books and types of books he likes more than others. But the act of listening to someone read to him is on its own a pretty big draw. Zion isn't quite as omnivorous in his taste, but he's still pretty patient for a two-year-old when it comes to listening to the written word.

I don't know what we win for this, but I will say that I'm very impressed with both boys' ability to make connections with the text we read, something that I'm always trying to drag out of second- and third-grade students. They get text-to-text, text-to-self: they're fully involved in processing the story on all sorts of levels. However impressed I might be, though, I would still prefer they kept those connections to themselves at bedtime instead of shouting out whatever occurs to them and disturbing the carefully curated atmosphere of calm and quite peace that I work so hard to create. At least one of them can actually fall asleep while listening to a story, if circumstances allow; and when I think of it even Harvey occasionally drifts off before I finish a chapter. As a parent I'm delighted when that happens, and as an educator I trust they're still processing the story in their dreams.

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