“What are you reading?” A common question I ask my oldest daughter, Wren, after picking her up from school.
“Books from the k bin,” she usually replies.
“But what kind of books are you reading?” I always push.
She can usually report some random titles but nothing that ever stands out as anything she’s really excited about.
Truthfully, I stopped asking for a while.
Then last week, as we walked to the car from the after school program, I tried again. “Did you read anything great today?”
“Still the k bin,” she said. “I hardly ever get to my dessert books because my books are longer now.”
She seemed bummed about that. “What are your dessert books?” I asked, interested in what she WANTED to be reading.
“Oh! Those are the books you get to read when you’re all done with your regular books.”
“Yes, but what kind of books are your dessert books?” I pressed again.
“Oh,” her face lit up. “Fancy Nancy and Little Critter books.”
“Those can’t be your regular books?” I asked.
“They’re not in the k bin,” she said matter-of-factly.
I let the whole notion of dessert books slide, tucking away the excitement her voice held talking about those books.
A few days later, the weekend slipping away, I asked Wren if she needed to borrow some books from home for her book bin at school…a new series.
“I’m fine,” she said. “But what do you have?”
We made a trip into the basement where I have bins of books stored away from my classroom days. I quickly found a box of books from when I taught first grade, the titles stacked neatly according to series, just as I left them many years ago.
“Have you read Fox?” I asked handing her a stack of James Marshall books. “How about Cowgirl Kate? Cork and Fuzz? You have to read Mercy Watson!” I said piling more books into her overflowing arms.
“Murray Watson?” She repeated, a puzzled look on her face.
“You never heard of Mercy Watson?” I asked. “He’s a pig that loves buttered toast and gets into silly troubles.”
I added the books to the stack.
That night, as I blow dried my hair, Wren sat in the bathroom reading aloud chapter one of Book 1 in the Mercy Watson series. She didn’t stop until chapter six… when I made her put a bookmark in to mark her place.
After school the next day, once again walking to the car, Wren said, “I can’t wait to finish Mercy Watson tonight.”
I smiled to myself. There is magic in helping kids find books they love to read…a little extra magic when it’s your own kid.