Pop some popcorn and get in your jammies for Book Night!
My husband and I first considered taking story time beyond Officer Buckle and Gloria when one of his friends from work shared this simple idea: instead of “movie night” or “game night,” they do “book nights.” He mentioned how excited his kids get when they pile on the couch with a great chapter book.
Now, I can guess what you’re thinking: this is your big idea? Reading a BOOK?! Ok, I’ll admit that this is not rocket science, but I’d argue that for today’s families, hunkering down for an hour or two to read a chapter book is more difficult than it sounds.
You have to resist answering the phone.
You must carefully choose books that are compelling and classic, while being age-appropriate for each child.
You must make time.
Our most recently finished classic is the beloved Where The Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. If you’ve never read it, please add it to your to-do list immediately. Simple yet profound, this book will have you laughing and weeping and wondering if childhood can ever be the same as it was for the young protagonist.
One of my favorite passages says, “…People have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never know what they’ll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love–the deepest kind of love” .
There are some action sequences in this book that are a bit PG+, including the detailed death of a boy in a hunting accident, however the sweeping sentiment of love, hard work, and loyalty is priceless. To add some depth to the experience, I found the movie on the $5 rack at Target and our family enjoyed comparing and contrasting it to what we had read in the book. Our kids absolutely loved them both, but agreed that grandpa just didn’t look quite like they had pictured him in their minds [isn’t that always the case?]
Last night we began a shorter chapter book, Who Was Harriet Tubman? It’s exciting to plan ahead and choose books that teach wonderful values [like Red Fern], encourage imagination [Narnia Series] and that teach history [Tubman, Island of the Blue Dolphins].
It takes purposeful evening planning to stay consistent, and I’ll admit that’s something we can improve on at our home. However, even snuggling up two or three times a week is a great family moment free from media and screens, but full of wonder and dreams.