Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reading in the Car

I'm a bit old fashioned or maybe just mean, but I hate the idea of my kids staring at a screen while we're in the car. I suppose this isn't terribly surprising since we don't watch television at home and monitor the movie viewing as well. The one time my kids got to watch a movie while in the car (my sister's much-cooler-than-our-minivan LandRover) during a three-hour drive home from Vernal, they were much more badly behaved than they usually are (which is saying something).

We had several short car trips planned this summer and I wanted to pick something fun to read to the kids while we were all in the car. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls was my very favorite book in the third grade. My very favorite third grade teacher read it out loud to us during my very favorite year of elementary school. (Can you tell that I LOVED third grade? Fourth and fifth grades, not so much.) I ordered a copy (I wonder which of my siblings "borrowed" mine) from amazon and made sure that I got the vintage cover just like my old paperback version (occasionally, I am actually a little sentimental).

I am delighted to report, that all of my kids (except my three-year-old who is just grouchy right now and who mostly slept in the car, thank goodness) fell in love with the book. A few times when we reached our destination they expressed disappointment that we had to stop reading. My husband even got choked up in the final chapters.

Summer of the Monkeys is both poignant and funny. It is a coming-of-age story about a boy living in the Ozarks of Oklahoma and his dream to get a pony and .22 gun. Not only are the characters well developed and the dialogue absolutely believable, the writing flows so smoothly that it is an excellent book to be read aloud. I thought it would be fun to read the dialogue with a drawl. My children immediately insisted that I stop.

My eight year old son who been reading since he was two and read all seven of the Harry Potter books in two months this spring, still loves to listen to my husband and I read aloud. And of course, the younger children enjoy hearing the stories from the books that they can't yet read on their own. They love it. I love introducing them to the books that I love and to books in a different genre than fantasy.

So, I encourage you to take some time, turn off the TV/DVD player and read a great book (like Summer of the Monkeys, the Narnia series, anything by E.B. White, or your favorite book from third grade) out loud to your older children. And if anyone knows where I can get a microphone that could plug into my car stereo so that I can save my voice, please let me know.

1 comment:

Ammon and Jen said...

Summer of the Monkeys is one of my favorites too! We read it to our kids last year and I laughed so hard, I cried. Then when we were reading the ending I really cried. (My husband got a little misty too.) I also love the Pirate books you featured as well: "Aarrgh, Jeremy Jacob" is very fun to say in a pirate accent. :)