Reading to my sons

I spend hours a day reading in the summer. What bliss! About half the time I am reading to one or more of my sons. This summer we started with my youngest son’s assigned summer reading: Cricket in Times Square, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Maniac Magee. It is a tribute to these classics that we all enjoyed them – even on this, our third go-round in four years. Much of the time, my twelve-year-old feigned disinterest. Then, before I’d turned many pages, he’d creep down from the upstairs landing and settle on a step just out of sight. We moved on to my middle son’s must-reads: A Single Shard, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and A Tale of Despereaux. One day, after we’d gotten a good part of the way into Linda Sue Park’s Newberry winner, my 10-year-old decided he couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. He secreted the book away for hours of reading on his own. He confided in me later that evening that Crane-Man dies, but kept the secret from his younger brother. Having dispatched the summer reading, we rooted around for fresh material. I came up with The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. The cover of this National Book Award winner didn’t impress the boys and they remained skeptical after reading the blurb – after all, this was the story of a bunch of girls going on vacation. I did my usual trick. … I started reading. After one chapter, they were begging for more. When I closed the book, the youngest asked, voice full of hope, whether there was a second book. Even though school has started, we’re still reading away. We’re well into The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. The foreshadowing got a little dark for them a few chapters in and we took a break – they asked me to start again a few days later. They decided they couldn’t handle it right before bedtime so we read it in the afternoons. Once again, the 10-year-old took off on his own. He’s finished now, but we will continue. He said he’ll listen along; he likes the voice I have for Constance (she has the temperament of a toddler). Doesn’t he know where I learned to talk like a toddler?

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