This is Boo Bear’s newest sentence. For the past few days, he has been telling me that he wants to read a book. This is something new. As a baby and toddler, he had tons of board books and picture books. He loved them. As he grew older, he seemed to have lost his interest in literature. I knew he knew his alphabet from a very early age but could not determine if he could read of not. On one of his report cards his teacher noted that he could easily match words and pictures. This told me that he could read, to some extent. In 7th grade his class read the first Harry Potter book aloud. He listened attentively and laughed in all the right places. This told me that he could take in what was being read to him. At home, however, he showed no interest in books at all. About a week ago he started using Sam to tell me that he wanted to read a book. I looked around the house, but could not find anything that would be high interest but easy to read, or something that could be read in small chunks at a time. I let this thought simmer in the back of my brain.
Yesterday was day four of his spring break. It was rainy, cold, and gross outside. Boo kept telling me he wanted to go to school and see his teacher. He wanted to ride his bike. In other words, we needed to get out of the house. It was lunch time, so we headed out. I had asked him several times where he wanted to go for lunch but all he would tell me was that he wanted to see his teacher, Rosalind. I headed for Caribou to pick up a latte. To get there we had to pass a McDonalds. Boo’s eyes lit up. I directed him to his restaurant page, and he immediately chose McDonalds. As I pulled into the drive through window he repeatedly kept saying, “Burger, burger, burger.” We got a burger, fries and drink to go and headed over to HarMar Mall to eat our lunch. He downed the lunch in record time flat. The mall was full of older people out walking so we did a few laps with them to burn off some energy. After a while we sat down just to people watch. I asked him if he wanted to read a book. Boo replied, “I want to read a book.” “Okay”, I said, “Lets’ go buy a book to read.” His eyes got big, and he followed me into the bookstore. We went into the kid’s section and began wandering. I asked him if he wanted a funny book or a scary book. He said that he wanted to read a funny book. An employee stopped by and pointed us in the right direction. With her help, we picked out two funny books, high interest, medium reading level, and a book of mad libs. We went to check out. I handed the cashier the books and prompted Boo to scan his card. He did, we put the books in the bag and headed out. He seemed very happy.
Back at home we tried one of the mad libs and he seemed to think it was very funny. A bit later, Alissa came over to take him swimming and off they went. This is an entirely new development. I really had no sense that Boo was interested in books, though the rest of the family reads avidly. I am going to set a small amount of time aside every day just to read with Boo. I will also ask his teacher what books he is drawn to in school and may send in the mad libs so he can share them with his class.
Yesterday I said all people have the right to meaningful communication, whether it is verbal or AAC. Today I am going to add on to this and say that all people should have access to literature. Without his AAC I would never have known that Boo wanted to read a book, let alone a funny one. Without his AAC I would not have known that he wanted to burger from McDonalds for lunch. Without his AAC I would have very little idea of what is going on in that sharp mind of his.
It is 5 am. It is pitch dark outside. I have no idea why I am even awake, or why I woke up, wide awake, at 3:30 am. So, I am sipping coffee with my dogs and hedgehogs around me. I am pecking away at my blog. The sun is finally supposed to come out today and hopefully Boo can get out on his bike. We will take some time to read a funny book. We will enjoy our day together. Monday we will return to the regular routine of busses and school. But, for now, we will just enjoy being together. Be a good human, drink lots of coffee, read funny books, and we will chat again later.