This is a little drawing I like to call “Anatomy of a Reading Parent” (or the more aptly titled “Anatomy of a Parent Attempting to Read”). Before we get into the details, a few things to keep in mind. This is, in fact, an effort at an artistic representation of real-life. However, a few things have been lost in translation (entirely the fault of the “artist”). I do not have curly hair; it was just easier to draw. I do not know why the book ended up being so tiny…feel free to interpret this as evidence that my children are of much greater significance than my books. The eye-rolling, “grrrrr” face I exhibit is purely coincidental and not at all an external representation of my internal exhaustion. All other distortions are merely proof that I should stick to the written word.
Anatomy of a Reading Parent:
- Eyes. Your eyes need not bother with looking at letters on a page and combining those letters into words. You have long since memorized every captivating word of this book. This memorization will prove essential by #4 when your well-trained eyes will be needed elsewhere.
- Six Senses. There is a little known phenomenon called “Six Sense Reading.” Six Sense Reading is experienced while reading to children whereupon said children feel the need to demonstrate, using your precious sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch, every moment they encounter in the book. Rest assured, your senses will be assaulted.
- Voice. Your voice is arguably the most vital part of the “reading parent.” Will you use inflection? If so, to what degree? Will you voice each character differently? Accents, anyone? At what speed will you read? The possibilities are limitless, but you will find your voice is not.
- The Provoker. This child will not rest until each and every person involved has been poked, prodded, and irritated. He or she will not limit their provocation to physical intervention, they will shake the chair, wave their hands in front of the page, and disrupt in any way their imagination leads. It leads far.
- The Word Tracker. Do not be fooled by this child’s youth. The fact that they may not be able to read is inconsequential. They know the order of every word on every page of every book you own. This child seems to listen, not for the sake of the story, but only to ensure the correct words are said in the correct order at all times. There will be no flubbing, editing, or skipping pages on their watch.
- Legs. Did you wonder why my legs did not continue all the way to the feet in the picture above? It is because they fell off at the knee due to lack of circulation. The constant pressure of any number of children on your lap while reading any number of books can cause you to lose all feeling in the legs. Be advised, standing up immediately after reading in this manner can be hazardous to your health.
- The Climber. Beware the climber. Havoc will be left in their wake. They will be on your lap, your shoulders, the other side of your lap, your head, your feet. You will lose hair, your glasses will break, and your arms will bruise. Good luck.
- The Book. It matters not the title of the book you so carefully chose. The book (and all books) will be universally known as, “Again.”
- The Sneak Peeker. The elusive sneak peeker will make every attempt to listen unseen. They think themselves too old for picture books and too cool for listening to you read. But the rustling pages draws them out. The moment you feel the need to look over your shoulder, you will know the sneak peeker has arrived.
- Sleep Reading. After hours of reading, your mind will begin to be lulled to sleep by cadence of your own remarkable reading voice. At this point, the reading parents’ mind does something truly amazing. It turns on auto-pilot allowing you to continue reading, albeit in mumbled fashion, while being asleep. Do not worry about your child’s ability to understand your garbled words. In the same way the mind is able to fill in missing letters while reading, a child’s mind is able to fill in the missing sounds while listening.
And so, it would seem that to have well worn pages we must also have well worn bodies.