I love reading books out loud to my kids. I always have. Given the choice between playing games, crafting together or reading a book I choose book every time. No question. For me, time together reading trumps every other option.
However, we all know that books are NOT all created equal. It pains me to say there have been books my kids have asked me to read that made me cringe inside. You know what I’m talking about. Those picture books that are heavy, even dripping with words, with not a story in sight. Or, books that feel like they take an eternity to finish even though you technically reach the end in less than ten minutes. And let’s face it, there are only so many Dora the Explorer, Ninjago and Batman books one person can be expected to handle in one read aloud session.
When my kids were little, this reading dilemma created a tension for me every time we visited the library. On the one hand, I want my kids to be readers. I want them to pick out books that interest them.
On the other hand, I wanted to read them books that I enjoyed too. The higher the percentage of Dora books we brought home, the lower my excitement for our read aloud sessions would dip. It was time to tap into the mom right of veto power.
I would still let them pick the books, BUT, sometimes, when they brought me a book that had too many words or too many cartoon characters I would ask them to put it back and look for another. Most of the time this was no big deal; they would hunt for another option willingly. If they did object, I typically let them bring the book home. I also managed to sneak my own picture book options into the checkout pile.
Once we were home, I would still read the Doras and other books that might not have made my reading list, but I would add my book picks to the read aloud pile as well. By exercising my veto power when necessary and adding my own books to the stack, there were usually ample stories to choose from making our reading sessions something we all looked forward to. A win-win.
If the book options your kids desire to bring home from the library are less than appealing and make reading out loud feel more like a chore than a gift, this is for you. I give you permission to exercise your veto power at the library. Not all the time, but enough to ensure there are plenty of books to choose from that make reading aloud delightful for all involved. That is, after all, the kind of experience reading together is meant to be.