My children and I have a well developed history of reading together. Before they were able to read, I would read to them every night. When they were developing their reading skills, we would take turns to read out loud. Even after they were reading fluently, I continued reading to them every bedtime, mainly books that I knew they would be reluctant to try if I left them to their own devices. (We still talk about ‘The Magician’s Elephant’ by Kate DiCamillo.) We referred to our bedtime ritual as “Bath, Books, Bed”, and all hell could break loose if I was tired and tried to skip the book portion.
Then life got in the way. The demands of homework and extra curricula activities suddenly meant that bedtime was unpredictable and often rushed. Our bedtime ritual lost the middle element. My children still read voraciously but we no longer share that nighttime reading time.
This story has a happy ending, though, because we still read books together. We recently all read ‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio at the same time. My daughter read it on a Kindle, my son on his iPod and I read it on my laptop. We bookmarked sections and spent a few minutes at bedtime, not reading, but discussing the parts of it that touched us the most.
This was not our only experience sharing a book electronically but it struck me that with much discussion about how technology is hindering humanity’s face-to-face communication, with proper management we can actually use technology to enhance our human interactions.
I recently downloaded Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and I am hoping that we can enjoy this together as well. Wish me luck!