Reading with Emotions

I have been reading to the kids on a regular basis ever since they were little and it is an activity we all enjoy (under normal circumstances).

Last Friday evening, Matthew chose this book:

I Can Read with my Eyes Shut

Image taken from http://www.seussland.com/readeyesshut.html

Although the book is now simple enough for Matthew to read on his own without much difficulty, and he did read to us, he still wanted me to repeat the sentences after he had read them. Which I did, not only reinforcing the words Matthew had just read monotonously, but also pausing at appropriate junctions and injecting emotions into the sentences.

When we reached the page where it read, “You can learn about SAD… and GLAD… and MAD!”, the kids dissolved into guffaws and went crazy for a good 3 minutes.

They were highly amused because they could distinguish the three emotions I demonstrated using my voice and facial expressions, and both of them tried very hard to mimic what I did. But they ended up roaring with laughter because they could not contain their laughter even at being mad.

Matthew was unusually interested and he really tried hard. He almost succeeded at the fourth try. I’m not an expert, but I showed him how to inject the emotion into the voice and the accompanying facial expression the way I did. And I could literally see the light turn on in his eyes as he seemed to understand what I was trying to demonstrate. However, he decided that it was more fun that I did it instead, and asked me to read over the sentence at least twice more. I did with much pleasure, for I fed off the enthusiasm of the kids.

Last evening, the kids decided they wanted to listen to MaMa’s version of “The Three Little Pigs” instead of reading from a book. And Matthew paid me the greatest compliment (and the only compliment) in 6 years. “MaMa, you read to us. Your voice is very sweet.” (My voice is sweet? That is new, and very, very flattering indeed)

I was so touched, and it gave me the extra energy boost I needed to recite a story from memory, something I don’t particularly enjoy. I much prefer to read from a book, and to vary the emotions and tone from there.

The kids then took turns to change the storyline from their own (warped) imaginations, laughing at their own silliness. All of which didn’t make sense to (the factual and accurate) me. But I indulged them, since they both seem to be in this phase of ‘creative’ storytelling and imaginative play. That was what I did when I was their age anyway; but because I had nobody to play with, I played everything in my mind.

Look forward to the next funny storytelling session, with a real book of course…

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