activities of daily living · reading · slice of life

Memory of the Morning

It’s late. Bedtime, in fact. My memories from the day have glommed together. But there was a conversation Isabelle and I had from early this morning I remember. I don’t recall the exact words we exchanged since so much has happened between then and now. But I remember the essence of it so the transcript doesn’t matter. But first, the backstory.

Isabelle moves like a turtle in the mornings. Once we settled into our new house, I began to incentivize her with something she wanted — daily iPad time — in an effort to get her moving. The deal: she could earn up to a half-hour of iPad time before school if she could get washed up, make her bed, get dressed, and put her PJs in the hamper in 25 minutes each morning. That incentive seemed to work… for about two weeks. Each time she missed the 25 minute threshold to be in my room with a hair bow before she went downstairs for breakfast, we’d make a plan to read together once she finished eating. This was NOT a punishment. Rather, it was something we’d do together since I was laid up in bed with nothing else happening.

About two weeks ago, I noticed Isabelle stopped getting into my room 25 minutes after her alarm went off. At first, I didn’t question it since I enjoyed reading with her after she finished her breakfast. But this morning, after waking up 45 minutes before her alarm went off, Isabelle still didn’t make it into my room dressed for the day on-time. That means she dilly-dallied for 70 minutes!

Without asking “what gives?” I asked her what gives this morning. (I suspected I knew, but couldn’t imagine that the kid who just six months ago declared she hated reading could actually be enjoying reading.) When she couldn’t explain why it took her over an hour to make it into my bedroom to get her hair done this morning, I threw out my best guess… fully expecting to be wrong. I asked her if she was intentionally getting into my bedroom late to have her hair done so she could read with me instead of earning iPad time before school.

Do you know what she said?

YES! She said yes. In fact, she admitted to purposely coming in late so we could read together. I kissed the top of her head and told her she could’ve just spoken up and told me she preferred to read with me rather than earn iPad time. I don’t remember what she said, but she looked sheepish.

Naturally, we read together this morning before she departed for school. I didn’t care that she picked two too-easy books (one Poppleton and one Henry & Mudge) to read alongside me. Rather, we snuggled in bed, as we have so many mornings for the past month, and enjoyed two stories. Unlike most mornings, she allowed me to put my arm around her. She leaned into my body, resting more on me than on the pillows.

For anyone who has followed Isabelle’s reading journey, you know this day has taken a lot of hard work and tears. While reading isn’t something Isabelle chooses to do independently, reading aloud to me is now a preferred activity. I never thought this day would come. But it has and I am grateful*.

Snuggled-up for our morning read.

*= I told my husband I will have to start waking up earlier once I get back on my feet again just so I can keep reading with Isabelle before school. Hopefully the thrill of reading alongside me in the mornings won’t wear off once I’m fully mobile again.

14 thoughts on “Memory of the Morning

    1. I’d be honored if you did.

      She’s struggled for years because of speech issues. She has a Dyslexia diagnosis. We’ve had her working with reading tutors since the second half of Kindergarten. She’s in third grade now so this has been a long time coming!

  1. It’s really worth coming back to the SOL posts after Tuesday. I am glad I didn’t miss your post. You have created a literary rich environment, you have provided all the support you can at home and outside, you have shared the joy of stories, you haven’t given up, patiently waiting and hoping – this morning is a wonderful celebration. i am happy for both of you!

  2. “If you build it, they will come”…this post reinforces the need to continuously provide access to books without giving up. It’s been my experience as an educator (especially with my special education students) that sometimes all that’s needed is the gift of time–either for maturity, or the actual minutes spent sharing our passion for literacy. What a great moment to treasure!

    1. The gifts of time and maturity are important ones. So much can happen when we give kids the time they need to come into their own as readers.

      I don’t think we’re totally “home free” yet. Isabelle still struggles with nonfiction texts (i.e., she dislikes reading them and therefore never picks them). So much of the reading we do is nonfiction. That’s the next hurdle we’ll have to jump together.

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