Part of the bedtime ritual at our house is that Momma reads to each kid before bed. Every night that Momma's home, we read books. Sure, we'll read books at other times of day, but we always, always read at bedtime. Even when Momma's travelling, sometimes there can still be bedtime stories - I'll Skype and recite some of Alex's books or Emi will call and I'll spin her a bedtime story.
It's only been in the last 6 months or so that Emi's been willing to have non-picture books at bedtime. She was sort of okay with the "level one readers" - the step just above "little kid book" - but didn't always trust them, since I'd occasionally ask her what some of the words were. This is partly why she has Jedi and Sith in her list of sight words.
I tried to get her to listen to some chapter books, but we always gave up. That is, until I found THE book. Browsing through Half Price Books after a med check appointment, I found a chapter book all about the further adventures of Anna and Elsa. I brought it home and Emi was HOOKED. She LOVES Elsa and, though these are basically sanctioned fanfic, she loves the new stories.
We're now on book four of the series. There are currently six planned.
I also found the "junior novelizations" of recent Disney movies. We read about Big Hero Six, Brave, Frozen Fever (because I REFUSE to spend money on the live action Cinderella. Feh), and Tangled. I also got her to finally listen to "Nurk". Now, we have choices for what story to read. I have hope that this will let us read other books...like The Hobbit, The Fairyland series, Narnia, The Boxcar Children, The Secret Garden, and so, so many others.
Meanwhile, in the other bedroom, Alex has always preferred books that rhyme to those that don't. He'll pull several books from his shelf and have me read as many as he can possibly get away with. He's also the one more likely to go grab a book and ask me to read it...usually, by sitting on me and opening the book.
This is how things have been going. That is, until yesterday.
You see, Ursula Vernon's (ursulav
) new kid book came out last week. It's "Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible". It's about a hamster, who's a princess under a curse. She's discovered that since the curse *has* to keep her alive until her 12th birthday, she's currently INVINCIBLE. Also, the cover is covered in glitter.
I had to buy it. Right away. Moral imperative...and I buy all of her stuff the second it comes out. It's just that good, yo.
I read it as soon as I could and loved it. I then offered it to Emi as an option for bedtime book.
I've no idea why, but she just wanted nothing to do with it. So, last night, I asked Alex if *he* would like me to read it to him. I expected an immediate refusal, as there's (a) no rhyming, (b) no dinosaurs, (c) no trains, and (d) longer than 15 pages.
He grabbed it and took it to his room.
Last night, we read the first four chapters. At the end of each chapter, I'd ask if he liked it and wanted me to keep reading. Vigorous nods. He fell asleep on the last page of chapter 4. I kissed him and turned off the light.
Tonight, before organizing his blanket and pillow, he was grabbing for the book to shove at me. We read chapters 5-7. He fell asleep on the last page of chapter 7.
I...didn't expect this to work. I underestimated our little dude, because I expected him to have the same story attention span as his sister. Part of it might be that I'm way better at reading aloud now, but most of it is probably that he's a very different kid than Emi. So far, he's very much digging this story of a warrior hamster princess.
This makes me happy. Both kids (I hope) associate books with a Momma who loves them very much. I'd like for them to have actual friends and interests outside of books (unlike Momma) while they grow up, but I also want them to love good stories as much as I do. That'd be cool.