My favorite time of day is when everything stops—when lights are dimmed, outdoor sounds diminish, the bouncing, crashing, bell ringing tunes of Mario Party and other video games end and I can hear myself breathe once more. The best part of this time is reading with my eleven-year-old daughter, Jordan.
She has her own quiet time to read a book, but this is our time to read together. I spent many hours reading books aloud when I homeschooled her and her brothers, and miss that the most…so I want to hold onto our evening routine as long as possible, before hanging out with friends becomes the preferred alternative, or she realizes she’s too old for reading with Mom.
I confess I must drink coffee while she reads to me—her soft voice has often lulled me to sleep. If I don’t, I wake, confused and disappointed at missing a whole chapter. Sometimes no amount of caffeine is strong enough, so I stand up and do leg lifts or squats to keep me awake. It’s not just the story I don’t want to miss, but my time with Jordan. We talk about Ida B, Janie, Jaden, or Miranda, what we think will happen next, and what we liked or disliked. We laugh when a character does something silly; we cry when a character cries; we learn about each other.
After we close that book, we read where we left off in the Bible for a while. Then we pray. Jordan’s prayers cover everything from her brother’s cold to the typhoon victims in the Philippines.
Then I glance at the time and complain that it’s so late and she’s going to have trouble waking up for school … and why didn’t we start earlier? I must be the only parent who lets her fifth-grade child stay up until 11:30 on a school night. But I kiss her goodnight and set the books on her dresser until tomorrow.
Some of our recent favorite books to read (for middle grade):
- Ida B. by Katherine Hannigan
- The Graduation of Jake Moon by Barbara Park
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
- The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
- Randi’s Steps by Frances Judge (Okay, we are bias to this one)
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
- The book of Esther in the Bible