Something magical happens when you finally get to start reading real chapter books to your kids, instead of the classic lift the flap books meant for toddlers. Since really, you do know exactly who’s hiding under the table, and behind the chair, you’ve lifted that flap countless times, and you know teddy’s behind it all…
A few weeks ago we started reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis.
Classic literature, filled with complex vocabulary, intriguing story lines, and well developed characters. It’s also an incredibly well crafted allegory of the story of Jesus coming down to earth, and once and for all conquering Satan and death.
I know…. it’s in the kid’s book section, and yet oh so good for adults too. This is where parenting and homeschooling take on an edge of excitement.
So we read, and I changed the hard words to easier ones as I read, and I explained and we discussed, and they sat, and sometimes bounced on the edge of all of the seats.
I almost cried, as usual, when Aslan offered himself to the Witch in place of Edmund, the traitorous little brother, who received such a remarkable gift of grace which transformed his character into an incredibly upright future king.
We laughed at all of the appropriate parts and marveled at the idea of magical worlds hidden inside of wardrobes. It was magnificent.
Then we grabbed the movie from the library and the whole family watched it with equal amounts of wonder.
The toddlers thought the talking woodland creatures and the roaring lion bits were hilarious. The big boys had play daggers and swords in their belt loops and only ran away and hid by the door when battling wolf scenes proved to be too intense. We talked them through all of the frightening scenes and kept reminding them that good was going to defeat evil.
We even crafted our own tiny wardrobe out of a miniature cereal box, you remember, the ones you used to eat on camping trips when you were six years old, packed with sugar, zero nutrients, and so much joy.
Now the boys are roaming around the house peeking in all of the closets and pretending that they are finding magic wardrobes too.
I keep administering new rules for the sword fights that are constantly taking place, and you can frequently hear the names of Aslan and other characters thrown out mid-sentence by a son here and there.
There’s also been a few occasions of:
“What are you doing?”
And I love every last bit of it.
I love teaching kids to love reading.
I still have a kid who loathes reading on his own, because he finds it hard; and don’t we all absolutely love repeatedly doing the things that we find super challenging and difficult… But the great news is that right now he could, and would love to be read to, all the live long day.
So I will continue to read to him, and unlock magical words, incredible vocabulary and wildly imaginative tales.
And since we homeschool, we will continue to occasionally sit in our pj’s reading the final 5 chapters of the magical Narnia story until 10 am, just because we can.
Probably followed by toast and tea, because that’s what Lucy did when she visited Mr. Tumnus; and right about now, that sounds pretty tasty to us too.