Sunday, July 19, 2009

Read to Me

When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or Philosopher's Stone, depending on your geography) came out - on video - we watched it with the girls. Before that they had shown no interest in the franchise. After that dementors couldn't keep us away. We acquired all of the books that had been released at that time, but since they were above the girls reading level, Tom read them aloud to us chapter by chapter.

Did he do voices and accents?

What do you think?

I sat on the loveseat, knitting. Lea curled up with Tom on the couch, watching the process of reading the words she couldn't quite make out independently yet. Liv either sat at the other end of the couch or laid on her belly on the floor.

We were all utterly enchanted. Under a spell, you might even say, if you were the sort of person prone to saying things like that.

He would finish the chapter and say, "Tomorrow's chapter is titled _____". Then he would raise his eyebrows and close the book with a great flourish amid pleas from the three of us for just one more chapter pleeeeeeeease! If the next chapter was on the shorter side, or if the evening was on the earlier side, sometimes we managed to get him to acquiesce. Usually, though, one chapter was it. We were left longing for the next installment the way I imagine kids in the early days of movies longed for the next installment of their weekly cliff-hangers.

When Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released in the theater, we went to a matinee on opening weekend.

When Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was released in the book stores, we thought the girls were old enough to stay up for a midnight release. We got to the bookstore around ten. There were elaborate costumes and lots of games and activities. My mom had recently made both of them cloaks that were really lovely. They were having a lot of fun until they weren't. By the time they weren't, however, it was very close to midnight and Tom and I decided we'd made it this far, we weren't going home now. As soon as they started queuing people up Tom got in line and I took the girls to the car, where they promptly fell asleep, clutching their wands.

What a sober, tired little witch!

After that we hit every midnight release of a book or a movie. There was something special about not only being among the first to experience it, but also about sharing that experience with other fans.

By the time Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, the girls were old enough to read on their own. They no longer wanted it parceled out chapter by chapter, so several copies were purchased. I was a little bit sad, because I'd really enjoyed having the stories read to me.

I had a student teacher once who told me I'd intimidated her. She said that in every other placement she'd ever had, when she read a story to the children, the classroom teacher had used that as an opportunity to catch up on their work. I sat down, chin in hands, and listened to the story. She said she felt like I was judging her. When I quickly explained that I just really really enjoyed being read to and that she was an excellent storyteller/reader she relaxed considerably.

I tentatively asked Tom if he would continue reading it aloud. "The girls don't want that anymore" he protested.

"This girl does."

So he did.

Sure do wish I could be there for the midnight opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed park at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure next year. (Because SURELY there will be a midnight opening!!!) But we'll be there before it's a year old, I imagine.

The girls have grown a lot since 2005.

I guess we'll be needing new cloaks.


Pam said...

What a great story. I love the image of your family relaxing together listening to Harry Potter. I read the first two books when they came out and then I lost interest. My girls have read them all. I tried to read them to them when they first came out. They were pretty little (maybe 6 and 3). When i read the unicorn blood scene, Madeleine said, "No more Harry Potty Mommy. No more Harry Potty". And that was that. LOL!

Mama-Face said...

I love your stories. :)

My oldest (22) read HP when the series first started. We snatched up every one as they were released.
My youngest (8, 7 at the time) has seen them on the bookshelf for years and the time came that he wanted them read aloud to him. So we began. Very fun books to read aloud. But I was not reading them fast enough for him, so he took over; and has read them all. (He's a precocious reader). He used his OWN money to buy the new books. And he is stingy with HIS money. (not mine). We have every movie. We are Happy Potterites all over again. :)

But I am not brave enough for the midnight releases. :( I will say this is one series that deserves all the hype.

Love this post! Sorry for the LONG comment! :)

Claudya Martinez said...

When I was in 3rd grade our teacher would read us Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter by chapter. I have never forgotten how wonderful it was to just sit there and have that story read to me.

Maybe when my daughter gets a little older I'll start reading her the HP books until she won't let me anymore.

Macey said...

Great post, again! I love Harry Potter more than any 32 year old lady should...but they are soooo good. I think it's absolutely wonderful that this franchise has brought the kids out in droves for....BOOKS! And what great family time you get together when daddy reads to you all. So neat. :)
I LOVE listening to my husband read to the kids...ahhh.

The Redhead Riter said...

Reading is one of the best activities for a family. I love

☼Hope you're having a sunshine ☼ filled Sunday!☼

Carma Sez said...

At least the wands should still fit! I have never read a HP book. Started once and it was so wordy and didn't really appeal to me. I'm a loser :-(

Sandy said...

I love your stories! What a great image of you all together. I've never read any of the HP books. Never interested me for some reason. As for my childhood memories, the only book I distinctly remember my father reading to me was Wizard of Oz. I think I read early and probably did it on my own soon after that. But I remember a chapter a night. Thanks for bringing that memory back to me.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a wonderful family memory.

the girl with the pink teacup said...

Such wonderful memories, Tammy - glad Tom hasn't decided to give up reading aloud to his girl just yet! The Boy reads stories to me, too - mainly Winnie The Pooh - although that's probably too much information! Having stories read to you bit by bit, by someone who's enthusiastic, is one of the most special storytelling experiences a person can have. Like Unknown Mami, some of my most cherished childhood memories are of beloved adults reading brilliant stories to me. At least you were able to have the fun of reading most of the Harry Potter series together - I'll bet it was a magical time.

And you know my feelings on Harry Potter. Let's leave it at that...

TuTu's Bliss said...

This post made me smile so much. I love it and your family sounds wonderful. I am so happy I stopped in today. Hugs, Jen

TuTu's Bliss said...

BTW no coffee or sunshine just star light and hot tea!! ;) Good night from Hawaii

Cassie said...

Awesome. Miss Meg and I started the books that way too at bedtime with me reading them to her. It's nice to hear that another "grown-up" likes to be read to as much as I do.

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

I read the first book and started to read the second when it was ripped from my hands and devoured by my then 10 year old son. I have seen the movies, in order, with less and less interest. I think had I been able to sit in on those chapter by chapter readings, I may have had a much better appreciation for the franchise.

What an amazing thing to do for your girls and for your family.

Housewife Savant said...

Can you imagine my fundie experience re: HP?
The fear-mongering.

Now I've read 'em all.
And seen the movies. My kid's've seen 'em.
We're still not worshipping satan.

(I bet you missed me like Dorothy misses Scarecrow, right?)

MaryRC said...

so lucky you have an HP family. its just me and my son kinda likes it but hes not fanatical like me. he was in 1st grade when he started listening to the books on cd while playing legos. thanks to JKR he's and excellent reader and retains information he hears very well. audiobooks rock, and how jealous i am that your tom reads to you. so jealous.