I have read Dr. Seuss’s The Sleep Book exactly 1016 times in the last 14 years. Okay, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but I have definitely done my fair share of reading. Sometimes I am an enthusiastic reader, making the book come alive, and other times, I must admit, I’ve skipped a page or two in order to move things along during the “bedtime book club” routine.
It can be difficult for parents (grandparents, babysitters, big brothers, teachers, friends) to make the reading of a beloved childhood tale as fresh and original as the very first time you both opened the book. There have been moments when I have delivered a lack-luster performance, robotic in tone and delivery, boring to both of us. But there are times, when the magic of learning fills the room and we are both embraced by the loving glow of a book well read and explored.
And the truth is, it isn’t about the book that is selected to be read. It isn’t about how “a yawn is quite catching you see like a cough, it just takes one yawn to set other yawns off.” It’s about how it feels to have your child nestle in to the nook of your arm, how it sounds to have them sound out the words, and how your heart swells and breaks all at the same time as they read the book to you for the very first time and you find that this is the start of their literacy independence…and you wonder what next?
Pages Corner is what’s next.
Because as founder Beth Panageotou says, “it’s about creating a connection between your child and the world around them, and using creative methods to do so.” Reading a book with your child is a fantastic start. But with Pages Corner you can take it one step further. Arriving in the mail was the StoryCraft Box. Within this box was a copy of the book, A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon. This is a fantastic story about a little girl who wants to be different but is also concerned with what others will think of her. Within the kit are some key questions to ask your child:
• What symptom do you think was Camilla’s worst?
• What was the cure for her “bad case of the stripes”?
• What did Camilla learn about being true to who she really is? What did you learn from her?
We know that reading to a child for twenty minutes a day can establish a foundation of strong literacy skills that will manifest later on in their educational experiences. But we also need to encourage and nurture empathy and creativity within our children as well. Beth and her team are working to bridge those gaps now so we as a society don’t have to later on. It’s about having children actively engaged with literature, and about celebrating imagination.
It’s also about partnering with our schools and communities to help our children want to grow up to do the same. Yes, it might be messy, it might be a bit more than twenty minutes a day, and it might make you think how you would answer the leading questions. But it also might make your “bedtime book club” come back to life again.
After all, as William Nicholson said, “We read to know we are not alone.”