Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Something to Blog About

She is adorable. She is small. Her hair is wispy dark brown. She is 5 years old and her name is Isabel.
I love her
I wish I could babysit her. Whenever I have children, I hope I have a daughter as cute as she is. 
At New York Elementary school, they have a program called reading buddies. It's for Kindergarten-2nd grade. Isabel is in Kindergarten. Her birthday is July 5 (she'll be six).
Each Friday, I take a few books and for half an hour, she is mine to love. While she eats her lunch (she always brings her own), we sit in the library and I read to her. I read all my old favorites: Fairy tales, Kevin Henkes, The Olivia Pig books (by Ian somebody), Hairy the Dirty Dog, and I'm going to try to find some fairy books, because she likes fairies.
I was privileged to read her the Twelve Dancing princesses for the first time. She had never heard of it.
But even when I do bring something she has read before (Hairy the Dirty Dog, Katy-no-pocket), she still wants to read it. And if I bring 3 books, we will read all three. 
One week I brought 4 books, intending to let her pick and bring the extras home. We got to the third and I said, "I don't know if we'll have enough time for this one...". She said, "We could read half!" It was fast, so then I said, "I don't know if we'll have time for this one because it's longer–". She said, "We could read half!" And of course I couldn't stop in the middle! So we read 4 books that week. :)
I am so sad that there are only 3 more times before school ends. I sure hope she goes to that school next year so I can be her reading buddy in 1st grade.
And now we get to the sad part. One week Isabel wasn't there. So I read to Sophia instead. I had never read to Sophia, and apparently she had never had a reader, because as I walked her back to her class she said, "Well, I'm glad I got to do this because I've never had a reading buddy before." It broke my heart. 
There are two kindergartens there. There are 20 kids or so in each. So few have reading buddies. When the classes pass me in the hall, at least one kid always wave. They crave that personal attention.
I know they aren't starving or anything, and they're "alright", but they're just 5 or 6 years old. They want love and attention, and in a class of twenty, one teacher simply can't give that to everyone.
So we signed up for Mondays as well. My mom and one of my sisters also read. They have Talulah and Harper. On the week that Isabel wasn't there, Harper wasn't there either. So I read to Sophia and my mom read to Gladys. 
When we signed up for Mondays, my mom and I asked for Gladys and Sophia again. My mom got Gladys, but I guess Sophia's parents said they didn't want her to have a reader. My question is, why did I read to her in the first place, then?
So now I also have Piper. Piper is 6. She has a medium brown bob, brown bangs, brown eyes, and she is missing one of her front teeth. She is taller than Isabel, and I have only read once to her. It was a littler harder to read to her. I don't know if she liked it or not. As I read, she looked around the room a lot, so I thought maybe the book was too long or not funny, or something. Yet when we finished the three books I had brought, she said, "Let's go pick out another!" So we did. When I finished that one, I said, "I think it's time to take you back..." but she said, "Let's go pick out another!" So we searched the shelves and she grabbed one, and I started it. But then her teacher came and said she had to go. We didn't finish it, so I suppose we'll have to read it next week.
The second sad part: When I went to get Piper, I was standing in the hall waiting. Isabel, coming out of the room with her class to go to lunch, saw me, and ran up to me and grabbed my hand. And my heart was broken again. 
"Isabel," I said as gently as possible, "We aren't going to read today. We read on Friday, today is Monday. I'm going to come read to you on Friday."
I didn't like saying that.
So the solution is not to read every day. Because that doesn't work. It's harder on me and it's harder on the kids.
They need more people to come and read. Probably lots of schools have programs like this. Please, please, even if you don't live near this school, look for things like this in your schools. 20 kids in each kindergarten. New York is a small school. What about the schools that have 30 kids in 3 kindergartens?
Somehow, I am more drawn to children's plights. To think of a children languishing for love or attention or starving or being abused seems worse somehow. Children need to be children. And so many don't have that opportunity.
And I wonder if this is my calling: to help in some way so that children can be children. It isn't everyone's calling; but we're all called to love the hurting that are in front of us.


  1. Madeleine OstermannJanuary 20, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    I want to do this, I have hear very little about it and I love babies!! Please send me more information about this, as in how you get started and what kind of things you can do to help the little ones. I have two nieces and a nephew, and the older ones always come up to me with a gigantic stack of books and ask me to read them, if I have to do something else they will go to another of their aunts or uncles. These children get a lot of love, and have a stay at home mom and are home schooled, and it is hard to refuse to read to them. If it is joy to read to them , how much more joy it would be to read to a child who never had anyone to read to her before.

    1. I will definitely send you information! Oh, just thinking about it makes me happy! Although, of course, your child may not be as amazing as mine (Okay, I'm extremely biased, but, seriously, Isabel seems to get more amazing by the day), all the children are SO SO SO cute.


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