Today, from Lindsey -- an utterly lovely idea for cultivating a family and community based love for reading:
One of my favorite things I do as a mother is participate in a book group with my 8-year-old daughter. We are six mother-daughter teams, and all of the girls are 7 or 8. Each visit we gather at someone's home, and the girl who lives there has picked the book that we discuss.
The first thing we do is go around and the girls read the book aloud page by page. There is something magical about those minutes, as the girls hesitate before long words, their voices audibly growing in confidence as they forge ahead through a paragraph. Even in a year there has been a marked improvement in their reading skills. I am always mesmerized, looking around the room at these nascent girls, all tall and lean and angular, seemingly more so by the day, exuding both confidence and tentativeness.
After the reading is complete, we talk about the book. Often the host girl has some question prepared, or else the mothers start the discussion. At this point our topics are generally quite simple and plot-based: for example, what was everyone's favorite illustration, part of the book, or character? The girls ask questions of each other, too. There's usually a lot of giggling.
The formal part of our book group lasts about 45 minutes and then the girls scamper off to play while the moms continue to chat. More often than not, we find ourselves talking about the themes in the book for much longer. Books such as Zen Shorts, The Boy Who Grew Flowers, and The Princess and the Pea have triggered fairly deep conversations about empowerment, peace, difference, and the meaning of love.
I always leave book club feeling as though I've learned and shared something with people I care about. And, more importantly, I'm pretty sure my daughter does too.
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