Somewhere towards the beginning of 2nd grade, the silent reading speed of my sharp little D1 (F, now heading for 5th grade) surpassed my own read-aloud speed. As a result, I have despaired of ever being able to read aloud to her again. At bedtime-story time, rather than attending to a skillful but tediously dramatic performance by her mother, she prefers to lie companionably beside me while racing through novel after novel and the occasional nonfiction selection while I get on with my own bedtime reading.
But poetry is my bedtime reading (brevity is beautiful: I can usually get in at least one whole poem before my eyes close and the book lands on my belly), and I have discovered that D1 WILL allow me to read her a poem or two. After all, in poetry there's often a little something extra that my read-aloud can reveal. Last night it was Billy Collins. I was looking for "The Lanyard," to go with the several that D1 started at the Chautauqua Boys' and Girls' Club last week, but I didn't find it, so we went for "I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey's Version of 'Three Blind Mice'" and then "Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty, I Pause to Admire the Length and Clarity of Their Titles." In both cases, she enjoyed the journey but wasn't quite equal, first time around, to the destination.
We'll save "The Lanyard" for another moment in the future, in which her green, white and black lanyard is less special, and realizing that I may have found a way to preserve the cozy bedtime reading habit, I'll work on being as intentional in my choice of poems as I am in offering picture- and chapter-book choices to her brother.