Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A new chapter

Caroline and I are reading her first chapter book - Charlotte’s Web, a present from my brother. She wonders where the pictures are, but every night asks for more. We begin by skimming through what we've already read, looking at pictures and talking about what happened yesterday, the day before. Then we start reading the next chapter. Sometimes, while I’m reading, she’ll sit down beside her children in their bed on the floor and pat them, making sure they are happy and falling asleep. (The children are small stuffed animals, the bed a shoe box. They are wrapped in a cloth diaper.) Usually by the end of the first chapter she is ready to jump on the bed and on me to bounce out her energy. After a few jumps I grab her and we start reading again.

I’ve worked on the voices and she listens carefully when I get to Wilbur or Charlotte. I don’t have a good Templeton voice - Paul Lynde’s voice echoes but I can’t get its whiney tones right. Uncle Homer's voice is my favorite and I dig out all the gravel I can when I read his lines. E.B. White is a writer who knew how to edit. Every word is placed right and I read them all. It is a pleasure to do so.

Tonight when we finish our two chapters she roots through her bookcase for two more books - picture books from when she was a baby, Pat the Bunny and Just a Snowy Day. She reads them to me, and shows me each picture. She asks for five more minutes to read, so we kiss and I pull up her covers and say goodnight.


Anonymous said...

Hey Julia,
Did I tell you that Emilie insisted we buy Charlotte's Web after we got back from the Beach? Then she insisted we read the entire book, one chapter a night. After the last chapter, she said "We'll start again tomorrow" and we did. And we got through the entire book again. That was fine becuase she wasn't paying that much attention the first time...

After that, she likes for each new book to be one with chapters, preferrably about fairies. So we started reading one called Fairy Dust, aimed at girls a little older than her. Divorce became a big theme as the little girl's parents went through one, I just ignored that. Then, it worked out that fairies actually come from DEAD BABIES, which required some quick thinking to explain away.


Julia said...

Wow! Chapter books with fairies could be tough to find. Do you think she would like Stuart Little? He's small like a fairy. Though he is a bit of an antifairy when it comes to how he behaves ;-). The Littles is a series of books about small people, aimed at kids 4-8. She might like that too!

taniad1992 said...

That was one of the first chapter books I read to my two oldest also. What a wonderful story! I'm with you..I can't mimic Templeton's voice either but I do so enjoy reading out loud...what a pleasure!