Friday, March 7, 2014

Taking Vacation Time to Read Aloud

I wish I could say that dropping my children off into the care of someone else each day gets easier with time. It really doesn't. We have good days for drop offs, and other days are filled with tears. I know they are safe. I know they are cared for with endless love. And I know the teachers and administrators at Primrose treat my children like family. And, I know as I drive off to work that I am going to a job where I am doing good in the world. However, some days it can be very hard. Mostly, I have learned, it is hard for me. They have learned to thrive in these little worlds they have found.

Because I realize it is harder on me and they are actually thriving, I savor squeezing in a few moments in their world. Today was one of those days. I took vacation time to surprise my youngest child by being the mystery reader. She, obviously by the pictures, would not sit with the class and instead had to be as close to me as possible. I didn't mind.
Reading to a classroom of toddlers is truly an amazing and rewarding experience. I read three books with them, and they listened intently to each story. They clapped their hands, and followed along with the movements. They gave me their best "RAWR!!!!" when we read about dinosaurs.

I always think I know what it was like to read aloud because of the countless hours I spend reading to my own children. However, each time I read to a class, I am reminded how different it is to read aloud to a classroom of toddlers as compared to your own children. It is hard to describe, but there is a thirst from these kids to see adults excited about reading. I know at their school they hear stories every day, but when they see another person enter the classroom and share their love of reading their eyes light up.
After I finished being the mystery reader, I headed over to my oldest daughter's school to volunteer for a little while at the book fair. I am incredibly grateful to Wonder Shirts for sending me, free of charge, three t-shirts (one for each of my daughter and me). I have to say that the awesome Skippyjon Jones t-shirt they sent me was a huge hit among the elementary school kids.The Skippyjon Jones books are very popular among this crowd.
Here I am trying to decide which book looks better with my shirt.

I realize that I am blessed to have the ability to take time off work to volunteer. It is incredibly rewarding to see a child's eyes light up when they find just the right book. I also love that our school give teachers Scholastic Dollars to give to students who many not otherwise have money for the book fair. Helping these students pick out a book was exciting. However, what brought me to tears was how most of these young kids asked me instead to help them pick out a book for their sibling. This didn't happen just once. Over and over kids came in thinking not of themselves, but instead of their family. And, I personally watched as fellow parent volunteers paid the difference when a child would find a book they had fallen in love with but were short a dollar or two. My heart swelled as I saw this commitment to fostering a love of reading by so many. And my heart swelled even more as I watch the kids walk away holding onto their new books.

If you like my shirt, I highly recommend checking out Wonder Shirts. The shirt is not only clever and witty, but it is also made out of soft cotton. There is a great selection of other illustrators. My daughter each have shirts with Mo Willems illustrations on them. I particularly love the Elephant and Piggie shirt. We read those books all the time in our house, and my daughters, particularly my youngest daughter, were so excited to have shirts that had pictures of their favorite characters on them.

Disclosure: As I stated earlier in my blog, I received the t-shirts shown here free of charge from Wonder-Shirts. All the opinions stated on this blog are my own.

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