Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Chapter 10

This book study has been in a holding pattern, but I'd like to go ahead and quickly work through the rest of the chapters. If you'd like to read my thoughts on earlier chapters, click here.


From the title of this chapter, you would think we'd be discussing phrases like 'try-outs' 'memorize your lines' and 'lights, camera, action!'. But, no. The phrase discussed is 'read, read, read'. Read, you ask? YES! Nothing brings to imagination to life better than reading out loud together quality literature. Stories that inspire, spur you on to great things, overcome all odds, climb the highest mountains, cross the deepest seas, go where no child has gone before . . . (cough, ahem, cough). . . Ok, so I'm being a little dramatic (pun intended!). You get the point.

We have always read to our children. The fact that I can recite One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish in my sleep to this day is proof of that. But investing a bit of yourself into the reading out loud adds so much more to the experience. When baby #4 came along, I found a book by the title "I'll Love You Forever" --  a wonderful book that takes you through all the stages of growing up and how Mother loves you through them all. The mother character sings a special lullaby each night, all through the years, and so as the words to the song are repeated throughout the story, I created my own little tune (inspired by a friend), making the story "come alive". Now my own daughter reads/sings it to her little ones.
When we began 'officially' schooling our children, I started the tradition of reading out loud at lunchtime. A tradition we have kept up, off and on, for 21 years now. I choose chapter books, children's literature, books that are fun and/or informative. Books that spark the imagination or challenge us to better character. As the children sit and enjoy their lunch, I read out loud. It is far more interesting for them when I consciously vary the tone and pitch and meter of my voice. Am I coming upon a tense and suspenseful section? I try to lower my voice and slow down the rhythm for full impact. Are we jumping into something exciting and unexpected? I will speed up my words and raise my voice, and then pause for them to take it all.
I have a couple of friends who are very good at accents. I have some work to do before I can master the British accent, or the Brooklyn accent. I can add a touch of flair with a crisp, Northern US accent or a bit of Southern Drawl. My rendition of a Swede brings giggles from around the table, but that's ok. I don't take it personal. 

We have had seasons of read-aloud time in the evenings with Dad.  Our evening devotions as a family are centered around taking turns reading out loud from our Bibles. The spoken word brings people together. Storytelling has long been a way of one generation passing down history and character and life lessons to the next. 

Some of our favorites through the years (there are so many!) have been:
Mr Popper's Penguins
Little House Series
The Narnia Series
Understood Betsy
Treasure Island
Swiss Family Robinson
Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates
Henry Reed
The Moffats
Ben Hur
Pilgrim's Progress
Ten P's in a Pod

The habit of reading aloud together opens up whole new worlds, and naturally pulls our children, even ourselves, into the wonderful world of make believe, without movie cameras and pre-printed scripts. It's amazing this tool God equipped us with - the brain.

You just might meet up with a young miss who's donned a pretty bonnet as she is crossing the prairie in a conestoga wagon:

Or a brave young cowboy roaming the range, keeping law and order in a rough and tumble town.

So, rather than flipping on the television, or getting lost in a video game, consider snuggling up on the couch or gather around the dinner table and enjoy a good book together. You never know where it may take you!

No comments:

Post a Comment

You Might Also Enjoy:

these related posts