Siddown, Shaddup, and Read

I think I first heard about SSR when Lizard Breath was in fourth grade. I was terrified of her teacher, an old battle-axe who once mistook me for a custodian and thrust some boxes at me. “Go burn these!” Yiiy. I was dressed more or less like a custodian. That was because I was copying the school newsletter, a stressful, thankless job that involved a persnickety copy machine I used to call the tyrannograph and ink. I can’t say for sure if whine was ever involved after those sessions or not. If it wasn’t, it should’ve been.

I have been the mooma duck around here for 25 years. I can’t say I’m the best moom on earth. I have made more than my share of mistakes. But there is one thing that I think I did right and that was that I read to my kids virtually whenever they asked and wherever we were. Although we made regular trips to the library, I am pretty sure that I am also single-handedly responsible for Border’s great success of the 1980s and 90s. Once, when Lizard Breath was in kindergarten, I read a parenting article in the Planet Ann Arbor Snooze that proclaimed that parents should read to their kindergartners one half hour a day. A half hour? A measly half hour? Sheesh. Read it again, mama. Read it again. By that time, we were most likely reading to our kids about two hours a day.

I started reading to my kids when they were infants. Of course we started out with little cardboard books but by the time LB was in kindergarten, we had worked through the likes of Charlotte’s Web (I have to give the GG credit for that one), The Wind in the Willows, and I forget what else but we were doing “chapter books”.

I didn’t quit reading to them even after they became independent readers. I would read to them at bedtime and breakfast time. I loved reading at breakfast time. Even the spirited child would calm down somewhat. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe series. The Little House on the Prairie series. The Anne of Green Gables series. I read The Indian in the Cupboard series on Fin Family Moominbeach. Several generations of folks listened to that. (Oh, man, how I miss those days.) We read many, many, many more books. So many I cannot remember them.

I wrote a bit about our young math prof nephew last week when he stayed here during a snowstorm. He is looking for poetry to read to his young daughter and has written a very eloquent blog entry about it. About the only poem I remember reading when I was a kid was Eletelephony, which is a wonderful poem but I think he is looking for more here. I am a pretty crusty old kayak woman and normally somebody would have to dump a truckload of molasses over my head for me to say the word “sweet” but Cap has written a really sweet post about reading to his daughter. Our great-niece. Yes we are old.

Did you like poetry as a young child? If so, do you have favorite books/authors? If so, go on over to Cap’s blog or comment here if you’d rather.

5 Responses to “Siddown, Shaddup, and Read”

  1. Tonya Says:

    I read to Nate CONSTANTLY when he was little, and he loved it. (Yes, I remember that “Read it again, mama!”) I’ve always been a voracious reader, even though my parents never read to me (although my mom BOUGHT me lots of kids’ books). I’m not sure what inspired my need and love to read, but I was pretty sure that reading to Nate would stoke that same passion. It never did. He didn’t struggle with reading, but he just didn’t find it enjoyable (hard for me to relate to!) That is, UNTIL, I read the first Harry Potter book and I just KNEW Nate would love it because at the time, Nate was the exact same age as Harry Potter (11). I hadn’t read to him for years, but I sat him down and read the first 4 or 5 chapters of that first Harry Potter book, then I closed it and handed it to him. “If you want to know what happens, you’ll have to read the rest,” I said. He gave me the stink-eye, but he was hooked, and he finished it in two days. And he devoured the rest of them as soon as they came out. He’s still not a voracious reader, but he does read for enjoyment now and then and he credits those Harry Potter books for making him “see the light!”

    One of Nate’s favorite books when he was little was called “Ride a Purple Pelican” by Jack Prelutsky and it was a book of amazing (rhyming) poems that all incorporated geographical places. He’d run around reciting them, kind of like nursery rhymes. Here’s a sample: (it’s a GREAT book, with nifty illustrations, too)

    Justin Austin
    skipped to Boston
    dressed in dusty jeans,
    he sipped a drop
    of ginger pop
    and ate a pot of beans.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I was like you; I read constantly to my girls as did my parents and sometimes my husband. (doesn’t love reading) We went to the library every week with our empty laundry detergent boxes to fill with books. Out of that I got older daughter who is a voracious and excellent reader, and younger daughter who dislikes reading, except the Twilight series. (ugh) It’s difficult to know what kids will like–but it’s worth the chance.

  3. Jay Says:

    We read. Especially at night. Except I would sometimes fall asleep and add in incorrect words. Rey would correct me, so I finally just told him to do the reading (usually Ashlan was there too). Rey reads to me out loud when we travel in the car. I have heard many Terry Pratchett books that way.

    My most memorable poetry book with the kids was, “Joyful Noise, Poems for Two Voices,” by Paul Fleischman.

  4. jane Says:

    I loved listening to The Indian in the Cupboard. we must have had a number of beach days that summer. 😉

    I also love that I got into the Harry Potter books because of the kids. everyone has something to teach me.

  5. Pooh Says:

    Jack Prelutsky writes children’s poetry and I enjoyed reading it to our kids. When Mark and I were watching the MSU/um football game, and YELLING at the TV, we frightened two-year old Dan. I had to remind him of the poem about Thanksgiving with the line, “… ‘Interception’, Daddy roars…”