Story time is one of my favorite hours of the day. Since my daughter was old enough to hold a book in her tiny little hands, I gave her one. I have been reading to her since she was a few months old, starting with those cute books that babies can chew on or make squeaky noises with, and moving up to classics like Goodnight Moon, (Margaret Wise Brown). During the preschool years she was choosing her own 3 books each night from her shelf, a collection that continues to change and grow. In Kindergarten I made weekly trips to the library while she was in school to exchange the week’s nighttime reading treasury. By first grade she was bringing home chapter books and I saw the picture books starting to go by the wayside; not gonna lie, I am going to miss those books when they no longer supplement Mermaid Tales, (Debbie Dadey) and Super Hero High, (Lisa Yee).
Now as I realize we are quickly approaching the years where she will be reading on her own every night, I am clinging to story time like never before. Sometimes I wonder if anyone really studies the reading sheets we turn in each quarter to her school. I say “we” because I have been the one responsible for writing in the book titles and minutes read, as well as reading aloud each night. Sometimes I imagine a squad of reading sheet police scanning our sheets and wondering whether we really do read 45-60 minutes a day. Blame Stephen King’s The Library Policeman for that fantasy. (Just for the record if anyone’s wondering about my parenting skills, this is not a book I read with my kid.) Back to the point, yes, I really read that long every night. Now of course my little bookworm also occasionally picks up books on her own and reads quietly to herself, really only wanting me to read the more difficult books to her. Last summer we read through the entire Harry Potter, (J.K. Rowling) series and this summer we are working through the Percy Jackson & The Olympians books by Rick Riordan.
As the new school year approaches my emotions are conflicted. I will probably still enter the children’s section of the library and try to sneak in a few really good age appropriate picture books in the evenings, but I also know that new chapter books will be discovered at the school library each week or two. She will be filling in her own reading sheet, and take on the responsibility of turning it in on time. It’s exciting to see that she has such a passion for books and stories, and it is a lot of fun to see what she chooses and how her own interests are growing and changing year by year. I love that she excels at reading and is above her grade level, and I like to think that passing on my passion for books has helped with that achievement. But there is a little tug at my heart when I think that our nighttime giggles over Junie B. Jones, (Barbara Park) and the ooohs and aaahs over the images in Fancy Nancy, (Jane O’Conner) may soon come to a close.
I am hoping I have at least one more solid year of sharing in the books my daughter loves. I will enjoy how her eyes light up when the heroes overcome, or her jaw dropping when a plot finally makes sense. Giggles because someone said “butt” and pulling tight on the covers when the monsters attack. So I will read until I’m parched at night, no matter how long the day has been and how tired my eyes might be, because like so many things, story time won’t last forever.