Teaching My Baby To Read

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Reflections on my “Inspired by SLE Reading List Part 2”

It’s been over six months, but the end is in sight on my SLE Inspired Reading List Part 2. When we started this journey back in November, Bruce was 6 and a half, and my daughter Jenna was still in a crib. It was easy to find time each night to snuggle up with Bruce and introduce him to some of the biggest ideas in the world. Together we learned to say “Moooz-lim” instead of “Muz-lim”, we read about the courage of Cabeza de Vaca, we were inspired by Rumi, and we contemplated the code of Dinotopia. Now Bruce is 7, Jenna is in a big-girl bed, and bedtime routines have shifted.

Add to this the honest but horrible conversation Bruce had with me a month ago “Mom, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but reading books with your mom is something you grow out of, like babies grow out of using bottles.” Go ahead and stab me in the heart why don’t you! Isn’t seven too young for a talk like that with your mommy?

The root cause is that Bruce is such a quick reader that when I read aloud to him it is way too slow. This is all my own doing, because if he was a typical first grade reader we would still be snuggled up reading Mary Pope Osborne together. Instead, I am banished to reading Clifford Visits the Hospital for the umpteen millionth time with Jenna at bedtime.

So now we are at the last book from this reading list, the Candlewick Illustrated Classic version of Don Quixote by Cervantes, adapted for children by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Riddell.  I would love to say that Bruce and I are reading Don Quixote together, but the truth is that he is reading it by himself…usually in the bathroom. I don’t know what that means and am trying not to think about it.

I guess now would be a good idea to remind myself of my learning goals for this reading list, because it seems like we have reached them:

Learning Goals for Children

  • We are all capable of thinking our own thoughts and forming our own ideas. We do not need to be slaves to the thinking of others.
  • We are responsible for our own actions, and are accountable for our actions to our own conscious, our families, and our community. Many people in the world believe we are also accountable to God.

P.S. The two books Bruce and I read about Martin Luther did not mention him having his great insight while sitting on the toilet. But remembering that bit of history makes ending this learning journey with my son reading Cervantes in the bathroom all the more fitting. 🙂


4 Comments

  1. Jean says:

    Ouch! Well, you can tell Bruce from me that we have read to our kids for much longer than 7. My oldest is nearly 12, but she still likes to hear us read–recently my husband did the whole LOTR cycle.

  2. Kristen @ TeachingStars says:

    What a stab in the heart moment!! OUCH! I feel your pain. I hope my kids never want to forgo my night time readings. But on a positive side, it’s wonderful that he is so confident and strong a reader that he feels comfortable enough on his own. He’s got his wings and is ready to soar.

  3. Claire H. says:

    My kids don’t like read-alouds once they become fluent readers either. I do some poetry and some reader’s theater, but mostly I just shift my focus to younger sibling(s).

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