Our family loves to read aloud, especially if I am doing the reading, and the rest of the family is listening. We have read countless books, from the silly to the serious and have many favorites. Several years ago we read Shadow Spinner and to this day we talk about the time that we stayed up until after midnight to finish the story. We just couldn’t stop.
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I used to read aloud every night after dinner. I sat at the counter and read while the family cleaned up dinner – good for them and great for me. As the children have gotten older and life has gotten busier, there have been fewer nights when we have all been home to eat and read together. Football and other sports have been our greatest obstacles. A fussing baby, noisy toddler,and two busy little girls have added to the challenge in the past few months. Most nights Russ and I read stories to the little ones as the older kids move on to their own activities.
Several months ago I saw a newer book by Susan Fletcher, the author of Shadow Spinner. Alphabet of Dreams caught my eye and I saw that the tale was woven around the story of the Magi who visited baby Jesus. I ordered it and tucked it away with plans to reveal it during the Christmas season. I hinted that I had something special to read this year, but left them in suspense.
Thanksgiving weekend I unveiled our new read-aloud and they were all pleased to see that it was by one of our favorite authors. I didn’t allow anyone to read the back (even hiding the dust jacket away to remove temptation) or the Amazon description and just let the story unfold. It was difficult finding evenings to read, but we fit them in when we could. Over Christmas we read more often. It was delightful to see the kids’ faces as the Magi entered the story, and then there were prophetic dreams, and stars to be followed, and soon my family realized that we were reading a Christmas story.
As our Christmas break drew to a close, our reading became more earnest. Last night I read until 11:30 when my eyes began to cross and I couldn’t go on. At the dinner table tonight, we read the last three chapters and felt the deep satisfaction of enjoying one of our favorite traditions as well as fulfilling our need for a wonderful tale. We were not disappointed. Truth be told, Sweet Pea had to read the last two paragraphs because I was too choked up to make it to the end.
Christmas break is over now and stress is beginning to hum in the house. There are textbooks to buy, math tests to complete, and music to practice that has been neglected for the last few weeks. I hate to see this special time end, but there are many things to look forward to in the next few months.
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