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The Waiting Room Read-Aloud September 16, 2007

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family, Homeschooling.

This past Friday, we had a number of places to go- the orthotist to get Lyddie’s helmet refitted, Grams and BePops for lunch (and to deliver corn for the birds and squirrels), gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, and finally soccer practice (these work as Physical Education credits for us). Among those other things, we were trying to fit in our academic work. There was no one else waiting in the outer office at the orthotist’s when we arrived. I wanted to take advantage of the wait to cover some school, so I picked up reading On the Banks of Plum Creek (in the Little House on the Prairie Series) where we had ended the previous day.

A few pages into the chapter about the decimation of every green thing by a swarm of grasshoppers, two older ladies came in and sat down. I wondered if I should stop reading so that we didn’t bother them. I decided to keep an eye out to see if they were annoyed and just kept going for a bit. They had a couple sentences of hushed conversation, then were quiet. A minute later, one asked the other something, but she didn’t get an answer. She repeated it. I heard the second lady say, “I’m trying to listen.” I kept reading.

A few more minutes passed and a couple came in. They too had a few words of conversation and then fell silent. I periodically stopped to explain a word to the children. An excerpt from Exodus chapter 10 about the plague of locusts God sent on Egypt was in the story. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that I wouldn’t be allowed to read or teach this in public school probably.

About two pages from the end of a chapter, the receptionist came around the desk and called us to come back. One of the two older ladies said, “Oh no! Now I won’t know how it ends! I wish someone would still read to me!” Everyone in the waiting area chuckled and the receptionist made a comment about how she had been enjoying it, too. I could hear the conversations about the story line and their own memories of being read to. It went on for a couple minutes as we gathered up our things and went across the hall to our exam room. That just really tickled me pink. I hope our kids still have such fond memories of reading together when they are grown.



1. julie - September 16, 2007

All of our children love curling up and listening to someone reading to them. Our 16 year old is no exception. He loves hearing the Chronicles of Narnia read aloud. I believe reading aloud is one tool that should be used often to instill the love of reading into children. Too often we bore children by having them read only books on their reading level and leaving it at that. I so much would rather get a book that each child will enjoy ABOVE their reading abilities, and then read aloud to them. This allows our children to hear wonderful stories and learn to cherish well written books early on in their life.
grace and peace,

2. Marci - September 17, 2007

I loved hearing this story. I can imagine myself there. We don’t have a TV although we have a set to watch movies on. For many years we did not even have that. My husband would read aloud to us. Even at 15 my son would beg his Dad to read “JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER DAD!!!!

3. Amy - September 17, 2007

I’ve been re-reading all my old favorites like the Little House and Anne of Green Gables series. I can’t wait until my girls are old enough to appreciate them.

Who doesn’t love being read to (besides Daddy)? I have fond memories of my sixth grade teacher who read several chapter books to us over the course of the school year. She would read two chapters each day when we came in from afternoon recess. (A great way to get kids to calm down again and focus 😉 They were all books above our reading level but great stories which is why the whole class enjoyed them so much.

4. chickenmama - September 17, 2007

I too have great memories of read-alouds. I actually remember in our Mother’s Day Out program (so I couldn’t have been older than 4) that a man (the church pastor maybe) came and read My Side of the Mountain during our lunch time. I was completely fascinated with the story and was eager to read it for myself when I was in 4th grade. We’ve read it to Benjamin and Rachel and then watched the movie. Typically, they thought the novel was better and resented the changes made for the movie version.

I agree that it is important not to limit the stories (and newspaper articles, nonfiction things, etc) to the reading level of the child. I like when books include the “interest level” on the back beside the reading level so parents can get an idea whether their kids may be able to enjoy it yet.

There are several good lists available that tell what novels make good read-alouds. Some books are easier to read aloud than others. For example, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s books may be classics, but they are descriptive in language rarely used today and hard on the tongue. Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook is one of the earliest I came across. I think it has been updated in recent years.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and memories!

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