The "Fire of Literacy"
"The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading. It isn't achieved by the book alone, nor by the adult who's reading aloud—it's the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony."
~ Mem Fox in Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever
I think that is what I especially love about reading with the boys, I get to see and enjoy the book through their eyes. Which adds a new dimension to my enjoyment of the story.
I remember when Harry Potter 6 came out...I did not want to order the hardcover (I prefer paperback) so I ordered the audio book. It was not working for us to listen to the book together (if I remember right, Kyle did NOT want to sit and listen to it) so Jason and I listened to it independently. He quickly got ahead of me and I found that I really wanted to enjoy it together. So I wound up getting the book and reading quickly to catch up. We then started reading it together and Jason told me that he really enjoyed reading it with me much better. There is something about experiencing a book for the first time together...gasping at a surprise turn, or wondering how in the heck it is going to work out.
I don't get this experience quite as often with Kyle, but I do try to find books that I have not read with Jason to discover anew with him...we are currently reading Five Children and It by E. Nesbit, a book that neither of us have read and are having fun (and Jason has been listening in on our evening reading time since being down here at the beach).
I do find that even if I have read the book before, I still get a thrill in sharing it with the boys. And each one enjoys it in their own way. I remember reading Bunnicula with Jason and really enjoying it, but with Kyle there was something magical about it. Maybe it is because he is such an animal lover, but the experience we had together was simply priceless.
And of course there are lots of books that all three of us share together for the first time...such as the Septimus Heap series, the Percy Jackson series, the Keys to the Kingdom series and the list goes on. How lucky we are that there is so much great children's literature out there!
I have so many great memories of books we have shared...like driving down to the Elms' for thanksgiving and having the boys absolutely cracking up at the final airfight against Nettlebrand in the Dragon Rider. Barely being able to get through the scene in Bunnicula where Chester goes after Bunnicula with a steak because Kyle and I were laughing so hard we had tears coming out of our eyes. Gasping and speculating with Jason as we read Harry Potter 7 together, finalizing a journey that had started when he was 6.
I think that one of the unspoken benefits of having "late" readers is that reading together is a very well engrained habit. (In fact, it was one thing that I had reassure Jason about...that we would always read together even once he could read on his own.) I do know some of my friends whose children read earlier do not have as many opportunities to read out loud to them. Not that this is always the case, but I do know that it can be.
I am most definitely blessed to be able to share my love of books with both my boys. And blessed to have them share their enjoyment of books with me!