Mom, I Am NOT Going to Read that Book!
Would it surprise you to hear that this was the declaration of my amiable thirteen-year-old daughter—about one of my favorite books—and her words delighted me?
Because what Jane meant, what she followed this adamant statement with, was that she wants me to read the rest of Sense and Sensibility to her, because she so enjoyed hearing the first two chapters read aloud this afternoon. I admit I’m a bit of a ham and I tackle the accents with immense relish. (Former drama major, what can I say?)
She hasn’t read any Jane Austen yet (I think she tried Pride and Prejudice a year or two ago and it didn’t grab her at the time), and I had a hunch that if I read a chapter or two aloud to her she would get sucked in and devour the rest, and then we could have all kinds of girlish gabfests about Elinor and Marianne and that absolute pill, Fanny. And I was mostly right: Jane howled in all the right places and we had ourselves a fine old time. So fine that she wants to continue on as we’ve begun.
Which is aces with me, because I can’t wait to try my hand at Lucy Steele.
What can I say? I think I homeschool merely as a way to fit more reading aloud into the day. It is so much fun to ham up accents for the children, they are such an appreciative audience. One of my proudest achievements in life is reading aloud every word of Lord of the Rings one long winter to my then 11 and 9 year olds. Just now reading all of Beatrix Potter to the 3 year old. My favourite line in literaure is in Peter Rabbit – ‘Peter gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and imlpored him to exert himself.’
Around here I am often implored to exert myself, especially around dinnertime…
On August 19, 2008 at 8:39 pm
I’ve found this too, that reading a couple of chapters out loud will entice my son into reading a book he feels reluctant or hesitant about.
I love the Peter Rabbit quote – I shall be hoping for friendly sparrows next time I give myself up for lost!!
On August 19, 2008 at 10:53 pm
Sense and Sensibility is one of my all-time favorite movies, I can’t wait to read it with Violet!! What fun!
On August 20, 2008 at 5:22 am
What a great opportunity to tell you that starting a few days ago, when they arrived in the mail, I started reading your books (well, the first of them) aloud to my boys (11 and 9). We are loving Martha and her Scottish life and I like getting to do a Scottish accent. I am going to talk about it in a blog post, I hope, sometime this week. I hope that we’ll be able to find the whole series at some point.
On August 20, 2008 at 6:04 am
I aged my son in my last comment. He is 8, not 9! He’s already growing up too fast as it is.
Also, I wanted to add that my guys are very picky about what they want read out loud and once we start a series this way, there is never any reading it on our own to ourselves. We just can’t.
On August 20, 2008 at 6:08 am
Rachel M says:
I remember when Emma was five, and she read most of the Little House books (She refused to read Farmer Boy, on the grounds that it was about a boy, and the last two, because she didn’t like it when Laura left her parents.) One day we had a discussion about how she’s more like Mary and her sister is more like Laura. Afterwards, I did a little cartwheel inside, and shouted to myself, “That was our first literary discussion!” We just started reading Jane Austen’s Emma together, and for a bookworm like me, sharing these treasures with her is one of the greatest joys of my life.
On August 20, 2008 at 6:24 am
I’m one of those folks that never “got” literature in school. And I haven’t read many of the classics. So for me the joy of reading this kind of thing together is that I get to read them and enjoy them, too. Hamming up accents is always fun. I think I read most of The Secret Garden with a Yorkshire accent. My Irish is better so anything set in Ireland….
On August 20, 2008 at 9:22 am
What a wonderful gift you’re giving to your daughter! I love reading aloud to my little girl and I can hardly wait (turning little cartwheels inside already) to read Jane Austen with her several years down the road. And how right you are…Lucy Steele’s voice will be fun to do (don’t forget her “beau-dacious” sister too!)
Right now we’re enjoying Ramona Quimby…
Years ago I was visiting with my oldest cousin who informed me that our grandmother had read Lord of the Rings to him when he was young. I was so jealous; by the time I got to know my grandmother (who lived the last five years of her life with us) she was too ill and tired to read aloud to me, though she let me read aloud to her, and still read constantly on her own. It was one of the greatest gifts to hear my cousin recall with utter fondness that Mamaw had done a wonderful Treebeard!
So marvelous to make these kinds of memories. They last!
On August 20, 2008 at 11:24 am
I read most of Austen aloud to my oldest a few years ago… it was so much fun. My husband listened too! We did several Shakespeare plays that year too, reading them aloud together (the two of us taking different parts). Even more fun was when we divided up parts between mommy, daddy, and oldest two children. Unfortunately, my second and third children are boys of 11 and 6 who will not be wanting to listen to Austen any time soon… maybe dh and oldest daughter would be up for another read, or maybe it’s time to introduce her to Trollope…
On August 21, 2008 at 4:28 am
Activities Coordinator says:
I am currently reading Farmer Boy to my 9 year old son, and he LOVES it. He is perfectly capable of reading it by himself, but then my daughter and I would lose out on experiencing it with him! 🙂
On August 22, 2008 at 3:39 pm
Amy C. says:
How I envy you theatrical types when it comes to readalouds! We all enjoy our RA time, but I do wish I could add some more spice to it. This post reminds me to 1) thank you for the links to audio of some of the Scottish songs in the Martha books, and 2) beg for a pronunciation guide of some of the names or particularly Scottish vocab in the books. A little hint would be lovely!
On August 22, 2008 at 6:43 pm
We’ve started a unit on the Dark Ages and I’m reading The Once and Future King to the boys…there are Irish accents, Welsh, Olde English…a TREASURE TROVE of possibilities!
I was way too shy to take any drama classes in high school or college…but now? With my guys? I love to ham it up and put all of those years of Monty Python watching to good use 🙂
On August 24, 2008 at 11:21 am