Several weeks ago, Reagan's first grade class started doing Reading Logs each week. Every week the teacher sends home a log and encourages the kids to read at least 10 minutes each evening. They can read either to themselves, to a sibling, to a parent, or have someone read to them.
Now, I must tell you, I struggle with the reading-to-kids thing. My days are slow and pleasant - nothing too rushed or stressful. But for some reason when the evening hits there is this mad rush to get everything done. Kids needs baths. Supper needs cooked, served, eaten and cleaned up. There are little bits of homework here and there. We have to do the whole bedtime routine thing (brushing teeth, going potty, getting jammies on, etc.). And, well, by the time we get all this accomplished it is time for ME to get tucked in - never mind the little people with never-ending wells of energy.
Even the library summer reading program is tough for me. Reading to the kids is one of those things that is so easily pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. I know it is valuable and I enjoy doing it, but for some reason I slack and then it's a struggle to get our required time in.
So I stared that first reading log in the face and hoped it would not be a thorn in my side.
Surprisingly, it's been...nice. We made time for it and often after I tucked the littlest two in bed I would hang out in Reagan's room, snuggling under her blankets in her bed listening to her sound out words and sometimes reading a harder book out loud to her. I was pretty stinking impressed with us (ahem...myself) when we handed in the first reading log and there was a whole 3 hours on there. THREE WHOLE HOURS, PEOPLE! I mean...let's not get carried away, but we got totally carried away.
And that seemed to be the trend. Thirty minutes of reading time seemed to work out just right for us so that's what we did. Maddie would sometimes join in on the fun - though her level of patience for Reagan sounding out words is perhaps that of a four year old. That is to say...nonexistent. Still, we've consistently logged three hours a week and I've been quite happy with that.
I was telling her just last week how proud I was of her for how hard she is working at reading and how great it was that she was reading so much. I told her all of that practice would help her just get better and better at reading (she's already doing great) and just generally tried to encourage what I saw as an awesome lifetime habit.
Which is when she dropped this little bomb on me. "Mom, next week I want to read 5 hours!" She said it with this hushed reverence and a delighted smile on her face.
Let's get real - five hours is a lot of time. I consider this a major chunk of my life. And it wouldn't have been such a big deal, except that this girl thinks she needs to do the majority of this reading time in my presence. (Turns out Daddy - who does not enjoy reading - is not so fond of this nighttime activity. I'll assign him the math flashcards.) So here she is uttering this big lofty goal and I know she's signing me up for this too.
I tried to tell her that was a bit much. I tried to tell her about moderation and balance. I tried to explain that she didn't need to do this to prove anything.
But her reasons for the goal were not selfish or proud. She wasn't competing with anyone but herself - I could tell by the way she talked about it. Honestly, the girl had very little idea if anyone else in the class was reading that much. So...I did the right thing and said, "Okay." Happy to see her set a goal. Not so happy I got roped into it.
That blank reading log came home and I gave it a look. And off we went. Every single night she read - always 45 to 60 minutes. It was hard to cut her off at 60 minutes.
With amazement, this is the reading log I signed for her this morning. I am blown away. She did it! She read for every single one of those minutes. She met a goal that she had set for herself. She exceeded her own expectations (and mine). And I think that is pretty awesome. Even if it did cost me 6 1/2 hours of my life.