Last night Rilla fell asleep reading herself (out loud) a Little Bear book. She was snuggled in beside me as I worked: this is a pattern we’ve fallen into lately, a good one. I work in the evenings. Scott handles dinner and the bedtime hubbub. Wonderboy conks out around eight, and then Scott and the older girls will often watch a little TV—an episode of M.A.S.H., most likely, or maybe a Mythbusters. Sometimes Rilla has crashed by this point, but if she’s still awake she gets to come into our room—I work on our bed—and look at books.
Some nights I’m ready to quit writing, and I’ll read a story to her. Other nights, I need to keep plugging away, but she likes that too: I think she feels like she’s getting away with something special, hanging out with Mommy during Work Time.
We realized that on these nights, we need to make sure she is stocked with beginning readers. Picture books have too sophisticated a vocabulary for her to read by herself, right now. Little Bear, Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad: these are just right.
At her age, “reading to yourself” means “reading out loud.” Silent reading is perhaps a year away. I get caught up in listening. Can’t help it! Such a delight, those confident trotting sentences and then the stumble, the try and re-try and a tap on my arm, “Mommy, what’s this word?”
My book will get written. This Rilla-story unfolds only once. I’m on the edge of my seat.
Old man, how is it that you hear these things?