SOL: Like in the movies

Me: Oh, y’all remember the children’s book “Are You My Mother?”
Students: *blank stare*
Me: you know…the little birdie goes around asking random animals – and a truck! – if they’re its mom?
1 student: oh yeah, I think I know which one you mean..
Me: *Googles book cover* this one!
A couple more students: oh yeah, looks familiar

*most students still blank stare*

Student: I bet you’ve read it to your kids at home
Me: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I have actually. I think we have the one in Spanish
Student: Wait. Do you read to your kids? At home? Like….in the movies??
Me: *silence*
Every Single Student: *staring at me anxiously/already in shock at the possibility*

Like in the movies. Like in the movies.

I’ve had this phrase playing and replaying in my head. I can’t stop hearing it. It’s haunting. It’s jarring. It’s far too common.

My tenth graders were in disbelief that I read aloud to my children at home.

We know all the research. We know about low-income students. We know the likelihood of having been read to. Still.

It’s haunting. It’s jarring. It’s far too common.

Read aloud to your kids this week. For your at home babies and grandbabies, cuddle in tightly and laugh and make funny sounds and turn the book upside down and start from the back and answer the request for “just one more.” For your at school babies, toddlers and tweens and teens alike, huddle them up and laugh or weep and wonder and be curious together.

reading his “eeboh” (libro)

8 thoughts on “SOL: Like in the movies

  1. nancyrsantucci says:

    Beautiful conclusion and final sentence. It gives hope after reading your repeated sentence, “It’s haunting. It’s jarring. It’s far too common.” Your intro grabbed me, too. I like how it starts like a script, and I learn the age group of the students.


  2. haitiruth says:

    How incredibly sad that being read to seems just imaginary. I feel as though I made lots of mistakes as a mom, but reading aloud was not one of them. I excelled at that! We read all the time to our kids, literally from the day they were born. And I wouldn’t change a single moment of that! There are so many reasons to read to kids, and I love reading to my middle schoolers in my classroom too. Tomorrow I’m going to be reading to all of them over Zoom as we keep distance learning here in Haiti. This was a great post – thank you for sharing! Ruth,


  3. Cathy M says:

    Some of my favorite memories are reading to my kids when they were little. I think it might be one of their favorite memories as well. “Like in the movies.” That does stick – and sting a bit. When I taught first grade, I could always tell the students that were read to at home as they approached the classroom library in the first days in a whole different way.


  4. Alice says:

    Yikes! Jarring is the perfect word to describe what you experienced during this exchange. All kids, even tweens and teens still love listening to someone read aloud (hello, audiobooks!). There’s something special about listening to a story.


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