Monday, February 2, 2015

Story Reader

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Today was my day to be Story Reader for Sophie's class. I do so enjoy coming in to read. Ever since Mason's first year at Golden Pond, if there was an opportunity to volunteer reading to kids I was the first to put my name down. I may have mentioned before that my Mom worked in the public library,  and I grew up accompanying her to work and helping out with Summer Reading Programs. My childhood was filled with nights sitting on my bed listening to her read us chapters from Redwall and Indian in the Cupboard. It fostered a great love for books and reading. I suppose one could have predicted, that when I became a mother, I would be the one sitting down with a carefully chosen book;  who uses different voices for each character, and thrives on hearing the laughter of children; who watches them listen intently as I read, their eyes wide with excitement leaning in to grasp my every word.

Today was my third day as Story Reader. Unlike my first day, I knew what to expect. The kids would stop whatever they were working on, gather around me on the carpet and recite the rules for being a good listener, "Hands are still, feet are quiet, lips are closed, eyes are watching, ears are listening." I would open the first book and begin to read. And before I am even ready, it would be time to pack up and say good-bye. A fleeting interlude. From the moment I sign in at the front desk, to the moment I am in my car and driving away, is a total of 12 minutes. Some might say not worth my time, but then again maybe I haven't introduced myself properly. I am the Mom who pulls out the volunteer calendar from the friday folder each month, quickly enters my assigned days into the calendar, and then impatiently waits for it to arrive.

Today I picked out what I hoped would be two engaging reads. I had to compete with: A Monster at the End of the Book, Another Monster at the End of the Book, and Pigs Make me Sneeze. I know right? Some of the most funny, yet classic books for kids. I could only hope Drummer Hoff and Pete the Cat and his Magic Sunglasses would compare. Although, I had to ask myself, would they even remember those earlier books, or that I was the one who read them? I have no delusions about how the school year will play out. I am prepared that this will not be the year where I know the names of each and every child in the class. Nor would they know who I was without the teacher telling them, "Sophie's Mom is here to read to us today." Yet, secretly I harbored the hope that somehow, at some point during my mere 12 minutes in their presence, I might reach into the hearts of these kids and make a difference. I should never doubt the capacity of a child's mind.

Today I walked into Sophia's Kindergarten classroom, waved hello to the teachers as I made my way to that familiar rocking chair where I would unload my coat, purse, and library tote filled with the day's selections. Mid stride, I was stopped by one of the girls as she was making her way across the room. She leaned in as if to tell me a secret. "I love all your books!" she quickly told me, before rushing to put her things away and take her spot on the carpet. I stood there for a brief moment, caught slightly off guard, absorbing her words. Once I began to move again, I cracked a small smile and went about my task of story reading with a renewed sense of pride. It was such a simple thing, only five little words. I was reminded of the quote, "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts." Driving home, I wondered if she knew how much she brightened my day.

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