Becoming a Reader

Guess what my 8-year-old Firefly and I did last night? We finished the very last chapter in the very last book in the Harry Potter series.

We started last fall, reading the first book in the series. And here it is July, and we’ve finished. This has been our read-aloud all these many months.

I think I liked the books as much as he did. We got the first two books from the library, then had to wait for the 3rd to become available last December. This waiting is for the birds, I thought. A few clicks on Amazon later, and I had found a great deal on the boxed set. It nearly killed me to keep those books until Christmas. Totally worth it, though. The look on his face when he opened that box. Pure joy.

It was Harry Potter that made me realize that my reluctant and struggling writer could actually read. We had been plugging away through Elephant and Piggy books and other level one readers, with lots of protesting on his part, any time he was asked to read anything.

Then one night, I was reading Harry Potter to him.  I had a cold and my throat was hoarse, I was coughing terribly. “I can’t read anymore, I’m sorry,” I said.  He grabbed the book from me and started to read it out loud himself. I was stunned. He read slowly and he asked for help with some of the words, but he was reading it himself.

I called for my husband, “Look at this! He can read!”

“Show Daddy!” I said to my 7-year-old son, who was quietly beaming.  “Where did you….How did you…?” I sputtered. He was reading words we had never gone over. How did he know how to pronounce -ight words, like sight and light?

We went back to me reading after I was well again. But then I knew.  He could read.

After we finished reading the very last book of the series last night, he was melancholy and wondered aloud, “What now? No more Harry Potter.” Don’t we all know this feeling? Having read everything that a favorite author has written, that empty, sad feeling.

“You know,” I said, “You could read these books on your own now. At night before you go to sleep, or anytime really.”

He picked up the first book of the series and began to do just that.