Trumpet of the Swan

My oldest child (let’s call him Mr. M) loves to read! I mean, he has actual panic attacks if he can’t bring a book in the car with him. He sleeps between stacks of books on his bed. He cries if we have to postpone library visits. It’s crazy! But, as an anxious child, he has always been reluctant to read aloud. So, this year (he’s in 4th grade) I’m making it a point to give him opportunities to read aloud. Notice I said opportunities. I’m being very careful to not turn reading into an anxious time for him.
We’re starting with one of my favorites, Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.White. This wasn’t actually a favorite from my childhood. I never read it as a kid. Which seems crazy to me, since I grew up right outside Boston (and part of the book is set there). I fell in love with the book while reading it aloud to the class  I student taught in college.
Mr. M and I have found a rhythm of alternating pages; I read one, he reads one, and so one. But if his little sister (Miss E) comes within earshot, he stops and instructs me to shoo her away so she can’t hear him read.
We only read one chapter at a time. I don’t want to overwhelm him. Then we discuss the chapter, prompted by questions I’ve prewritten. These aren’t the standard comprehension questions. They are questions to help him build connections, to relate the story to his own life. Some of them I have him answer orally, some on paper. So far, it seems to be working well. He’s enjoying it, and I get to share one of my favorites with him. It’s building his confidence to read aloud. And best of all, it’s giving us alone one-on-one time, which, with three kids is a diminishing occurrence.
What are you and your kids reading together right now? Please share in the comments!

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