Usually Dave puts the kids to bed and reads to them, but tonight a late dinner made it work out so I put Katrina and Julian to bed. Frankly, by story time, usually I'm sort of "done" with kids for the day, so I do the reading out of duty, but I always secretly hope they'll pick a short book.
Tonight, though, I found myself prolonging Katrina's storytime, reading three books to her, including pop-ups and flap books (which take a lot longer). It's so nice to have her sit calmly in my lap and almost cuddle. She repeats a lot of the sentences I read and points things out in pictures, but she really lights up when it comes to identifying shapes. I noticed a few months ago when she was pointing out "octagons" (which are often hexagons), and thought it was a passing phase, but this does seem to appeal to her. Finally she'd had enough and I reluctantly put her down.
Julian was very tired and actually wanted to go to bed early, and given his whiny obnoxious evening, this was not an opportunity to be missed! I gave him a quick bath and then read a long story to him, talking about it with him along the way, and enjoying his characteristic wide-eyed fascination. So different from Gabriel's intense focus. Gabriel concentrates on stories too, but he's almost sharp about it, where Julian is absorbing. You can just about see the spreading beam coming from Julian's eyes, and the pinpoint laser coming from Gabriel's.
It still baffles me why Gabriel's school picks reading, of all things, to force parents and children to do together as an extra activity. Reading together of all things is the first thing we do, the last to go. There's no lack of reading together in this household, and we happen to have concrete evidence of that in the boys' excellent reading skills, Julian's especially. The real value in reading together is to establish the habit and lay the foundation for learning, whether or not they actually learn to read before kindergarten. We understand that. Not to metion, we like to.
Reading together is fun, and should remain that way, not a chore. Er, not a chore the school imposes, anyway. Modern-day parental guilt does plenty of that.