A new kind of sharing has arisen in our house. Hugh asks, “Mom, where is What is the What?” I tell him it’s on my bedside table. He transports it into his room and reads avidly, and when my day is done, I tiptoe in and retrieve it from next to his bed.

Shortly after opening this book by Dave Eggers, the story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan so captivated me that I mentioned it to Hugh. He became so intrigued that he started reading it whenever I put it down.

From the time they were babies, we read to the boys day and night. Board books, picture books, alphabet books, chapter books. I read Goodnight Moon so many thousands of times that, chanting the lovely hypnotic words by heart, I began searching the illustrations for decorating ideas. (Stylish curtains! Bold paint!)

As Dr. Seuss and Curious George gave way to the Berenstain Bears (not my choice, mind you, and a phase that couldn’t end quickly enough), we moved onto Charlotte’s Web and Harry Potter, and reading happened at bedtime. None of us took a shine to a Series of Unfortunate Events. Our family still uses phrases from otherwise forgotten books checked out of long-ago libraries: “Odd! Very odd!” or “It shall be done!”

One stormy summer Saturday afternoon a few years ago, we snuggled on the couch as I read chapter after chapter of Holes, until my voice was strained and we reached the end. The boys still talk about that day, when we did the crazy marathon reading session and the rain drummed down on the porch outside.

That was reading TO them. Reading TOGETHER means reading the same book on the same day at different times, then discussing it. It’s a whole new chapter in our literary lives.

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