Reading aloud as a family
We're reading a magnificent book: The Invention of Hugo Cabret. This book isn't exactly a graphic novel, but to call it "illustrated" doesn't really do it justice. The pictures do more than amplify the text -- they actually help tell the story. As for plot, here's what the author, Brian Selznick, has to say on the book's Amazon page:
Paris in the 1930's, a thief, a broken machine, a strange girl, a mean old man, and the secrets that tie them all together.
Who could resist?
I mention the book here because we're reading it aloud as a family. Despite the fact that our 8 year-old son reads on his own, the four of us have been snuggling into bed while Rael reads to us all. We're finally in that fleeting sweet spot when our oldest is young enough to still want to cuddle with us in bed for a story, and our youngest is old enough to want to lie still to listen. So far, we've family-read some of the Harry Potter books (before my son nicked them and read them himself), The Indian in the Cupboard, Dragon Rider, and Abel's Island.
Once your child begins reading on her own, it's easy to let the read-aloud habit fall by the wayside. But I encourage you to carry on as long as you can. It's a wonderful way to revisit some of your favorite childhood stories (I can't wait to read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Secret Garden out loud). Our almost five year-old daughter loves hearing "big kid" stories she can then talk about with her brother. And we all get the pleasure of the family snuggle -- it's the perfect way to wind down together at the end of a busy day.