I am one of the few readers in the English speaking world who has NOT finished the Harry Potter series. Yes, I know I am totally uncool.
Our library, thankfully, has the entire series in English. So I went there to borrow the second to last book: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” (I cannot complain about our city library! I am most definitely blessed.)
Then I settled into a comfy chair to read the English edition of Time magazine. (Again blessed!)
Whilte reading the Time magazine, I came across this quote by J.K. Rowling. She said:
“Today I would just like to say: I’m really sorry about the death of ——.”
Except it didn’t have —–. It had the character’s name! And it is a main character! Aaaaaaaaah! Why, Time Magazine, WHY?!?!
So anyway, now I know who dies. I might as well chuck the series and turn to the internet 24/7 for my entertainment. However, my brain is starting to atrophy from Minion jokes and Cute Kitty videos. So I MUST CONQUER THE HARRY POTTER SERIES.
I haven’t really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series to my son because the books are so very long. However, we have come this far in the series so I settled in and started reading him the “Half-Blood Prince” book.
Constantly, he kept interrupting and asking me to read other books. So I’d say, “Do you want me to continue?” And he would say “It’s okay.”
Finally, I realized he was NOT enjoying it. (He has never been a Harry Potter fan.) So I stopped immediately. Life is too short to slog through a read-aloud that your child doesn’t enjoy.
I next committed a horrible crime against literacy. I chose a Goosebumps book!
My son loves these simple little books, which are action packed and have lots of cliffhangers. When we reached a cliffhanger, I would ask, “What do you think will happen next?” “What would YOU do if you were him?” My son loves this particular book, about a comic book superhero. (I choose carefully because some Goosebumps are perhaps scary.)
So basically, while I love the lists and the advice out there about read-aloud, I think in the end you have to follow your instincts about what is best for your family. We are just not a “Harry Potter” family nor probably will be “The Secret Garden” family (Although I might give “The Secret Garden” a try because it is truly a wonderful book.)
It’s important to find books that fit one’s family.
By the way, I am still reading the Bible to my son after breakfast. It’s a kids’ version with easy to understand sentences. Anyway, my husband was sitting at the table today listening and said, “Oh, that’s impossible to understand. He doesn’t understand it.”
I said, “He does understand it! He does! He does! Don’t you, honey?”
To which my son was like, Keep me out of your arguments. I don’t want to be in the middle of this.
I read some more, and my son showed he was listening–and understood–by asking questions. “Ha! There!” I said to my husband.
I think for my husband–who never listens to the read-alouds normally and for whom English is a second language–it did truly sound like Blah Blah Jesus Blah Blah Blah Blah. It was a reminder to me to read slowly and clearly.