Reinventing Family Read-Aloud for Tweens & Teens: Slice of Life Challenge Day 2

“Can I come, too?” Qaiden piped in.

Daniel looked at him like he was crazy [how to show not tell?]. “You know I’m studying right?”

“Yeah. Maybe I can get a head start on biology,” replied my sixth grader, hopefully.

“Come on in. Bring some extra pillows,” I called over my shoulder as I settled into a space on Daniel’s bed.

[If you’re reading–how much character intro & scene painting vs a quick narration here?]

My middle schooler recently challenged me to a Jules Verne read-off because he felt like with all the high school homework and studying in our house he wasn’t getting enough of my attention. [That was a terrible/wonderful moment likely to be another post.] He reasserted himself last night. And I have to hand it to him, he found an unexpected solution to his problem. If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, he’ll go to the unmovable mountain. Or maybe in this case, if high school homework won’t go away, he’ll take on the homework.

So that’s how I found myself curled up between both my boys with a biology textbook on my lap an hour before bedtime.

We used to do nightly read alouds together. We all loved it. Even when Daniel could read novels on his own, he’d join us. It started to fall apart when Qaiden could read those novels, too. We’d be reading something together like one of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. We’d finish a few pages in chapter three and tuck in for the night. The next night I’d cozy up beside him and open the book to where the page was folded and find myself in chapter 12?! It worked well-enough when it was a book I already knew, but it came off the rails when it was an unfamiliar story. He wanted us to read together, but couldn’t help reading ahead. And I totally get where he was coming from. Read alouds move slowly. When I’m immersed in the world of the book, I want to race headlong through the characters’ lives. Ironically, our read alouds ended because we were the same kind of readers.

Life caught up with us and quickly filled the spaces where those read alouds used to be. Homework. Hockey practices that didn’t end until 8:30 or 9:00 or later. I felt a nagging sense of loss, but didn’t have a solution.

Fortunately for me, Qaiden is who he is. He found a way for us to start back toward sharing time around books–even biology textbooks [insert emoji here of tongue sticking out]. This time, none of us will be too sad if we don’t read it straight through cover to cover as long as we keep sitting side by side.

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3 thoughts on “Reinventing Family Read-Aloud for Tweens & Teens: Slice of Life Challenge Day 2

  1. Your slice took me back to those times with my own children. I certainly missed our read aloud times when they got too big to read to/with (their thinking at least). Now it is grandchildren.

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  2. Katie, this post brings a lump to my throat, as I know I, too, will face the inevitable extinction of nightly read alouds with my girls. I know how much you must’ve loved this time with the boys, and how you must mourn the loss of it. This reminds me to savor every crazy bedtime when it takes forever to situate everyone, but how worth it it is…and how it doesn’t last forever. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

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  3. Lovely – I miss those days of reading with my kids. (They are adults and out of the house) I did get to read with 2nd graders today and they just slide up close in the classroom circle and listened in just like my kids. Yeah for reading with kids!

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