We've been doing Morning Read Alouds this year, and even though I started it with (wait for it) good intentions of working our way through the books people recommend to us, and in so doing showing my kids what a breath-taking world lies out there in Printed Word Land, I think I might be enjoying it slightly more than the kids.
Every morning we sit down with breakfast and a book, and I read two or three chapters while the kids eat. I've gotten rather skilled at eating my breakfast before all this starts, because there is nothing worse than soggy muesli or cold tea. Truly.
So while it started somewhat for my benefit, reading something that requires active and varied voices, sometimes with special effects, gives me just enough time to coalesce my intentions for the day, gauge the kids' energy levels, and read through a pile 'o' books. I'm killin' a lot of stones this way, so to speak.
We started with the Harry Potter series, because I knew it would engage all three kids (my audience is composed of two 6 year olds and one 10 year old). Read the first one, got really excited, read halfway through the second one, bought the first movie and watched it, got even more excited, finished the second one, bought the second movie, watched it, got really excited, but then tragedy struck: FDPG started to get the willies, goaded on ever-so-slightly by her elder brother, who could not resist throwing out casual mentions of such things as boggarts and Dementors (having read the books already, he feels entitled to a little torment every now and then but I have rather grimly sworn him to secrecy regarding Who Dies and What Happens in The End).
So I decided to take a bit of a break from ole Harry and Hermione and Ron (and boggarts and Dementors). For one thing, FDPG is, as I might have mentioned once or twice (million times) before, possessed of a particularly powerful imagination, and things like basilisks and bleeding diaries and voices in one's head and petrified cats can really get under her skin. She hadn't had any nightmares from the first two books, fortunately, but she has been known to have some extremely unnerving (for her parents I stress) night terrors, so we tend to avoid anything that might bring them on (like basilisks and bleeding diaries and dementors). Ahem.
What to read now? I felt as though anything I chose would be like the Transitional Boyfriend: doomed to failure from the get go. It's hard to go up against characters like Gilderoy Lockheart, Severus Snape, and those charming Weasley twins Fred and George. But then I noticed a book I had bought for Max a while back; a book he had not shown the slightest interest in. It's been made into a genuinely brilliant film, and you may have seen it, but let me tell you: the book is better. It really is. (can't believe I just said that, seeing as how I have been known to worship at the altar of Miyazaki but it's true) So that's our current Read Aloud. And we're all gripped in another fever of wizards and seven league boots and moving castles and fire demons named Calcifer. I've promised a movie showing after we've finished it, too, which we're all looking forward to. FDPG is finding it much less unnerving than Harry's exploits, but, as she told me this morning: "Books are always WAY scarier than the movies!"