When I was little my mom always made time to read chapter books to us, reading to us before we got into bed, and it was one of our favorite parts of the day. I remember sometimes, with particularly exciting adventures, that she would let us stay up late, just as excited as we were to find out what happened next in the story. Now that I'm a mother, I'm discovering how much time and energy my mom invested to make our childhood special and memorable. She encouraged creativity, gave us room to do our own thing, and included us in the things that she was interested in; gardening, baking, cooking, sewing. She taught us to be fearless in any plan to make things from scratch, and to make our own imaginative fun.
In a small step towards this end, one of my summer goals is to make reading together with my children a priority. Last week we started reading the chapter book Dr. Dolittle:
We're all enjoying it much more than I'd expected. I think that I watched a few minutes of the movie Eddie Murphy starred in (released in '98), but was kind of turned off by the cheap humor. The book, as it turns out, is smart and engaging for children and adults alike, so we look forward to our reading time each day. Now that we've gotten to the real adventure part of the story, they've been begging me to read extra chapters, which is always a good sign.
When I was paging through Rae Grant's book Homemade Fun the other day, I came across her bookmark project, and decided that it would be much more fun to have a cool animal bookmark than a ripped little slip of paper tucked in to the current chapter.
These are the bookmarks that Andrew ended up with (the others ended up coloring full pictures -- sometimes when you're 3 or 5, you can miss the point of a project...which is fine as long as everyone has fun!):
You can get the "pattern" for the project for free on Rae's site: Summer Reading Bookmarks.