Sunday, March 11, 2012

Read Across America

Day 157
I’m at the Blue Ash Library waiting for A.’s kindergarten class to arrive.  The outing is part of a series of planned activities for Read Across America Week and his teacher’s continued efforts to get the kids excited about reading.

I spy my curly-topped boy as he bounds into the building waving wildly.  “Hi, Mom!” he yells at a decibel frowned upon by librarians everywhere.  “Hi!” I whisper back. 

The other moms and I follow the kids into a community room where a staff librarian waits.  After the kids settle on the carpet and the adults find chairs, the librarian reads the children a book and explains that each of them may choose and checkout one book as well. 

“If you need help, ask a grown-up,” she instructs.  The kids turn and look at the gaggle of moms who sit quietly in the back ready to assist.

“What do you want to pick?” I ask.  I follow A. and a friend who browse the shelves, pull out titles, reconsider and slide them back into their spots.  “Dinosaurs?  Star Wars?  Legos?”  I draw on the oldies but goodies. 

Each selects a book with the care of a surgeon.  It is a painstaking process that involves EXACT PRECISION.  Books selected, we go to checkout. 

The kids and I return to the community room until the school bus comes back.  I open the pages of A.’s book and begin to read.  A child joins our reading circle.  Then another.  Our impromptu story hour numbers in the double digits when we’re told that the bus is waiting.   

I can’t remember a time I didn’t love to read.  My problem isn’t what to read but what to read next.  A stack too high to ever manage teeters next to my nightstand.  Other books clutter my desk.  Books on tape play in my car CD player.  A self-contained book on tape sits in the bowl with earplugs ready for my next walk with Spot. 

With so many words swirling in my head, they often crowd out coherent thoughts to the point I can’t find the actual word I need to speak.  It’s a small price to pay to be surrounded by stories.      

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