Read Together: Meet the Brito family

When 8-year-old Alex and his mom, Eva, talk about reading, his excitement is a tangible thing: he’s on the edge of his seat, waiting for his turn to share.

“I just love reading,” he said.

He has a list of favorites; his who-what-where of reading: he likes to read together with his mom, older brothers, or a classmate at school; looks for books that make him laugh; and prefers a spot at the library to settle in with a good book.

“He enjoys it,” Eva said of their time reading together. She reads to Alex in her native Spanish, hoping that it helps build his bilingual language skills.

“He can get used to the words in Spanish, because, like the R – it’s so hard for some people to say the R in Spanish, or sometimes the L,” Eva said. “So he can get used to them, and know how to speak it. I would love for my kids to know how to read and speak Spanish, so they can know how to, by themselves, have conversations.”

Sometimes they switch reading roles, with Alex reading to his mom in English.

“Usually, I read to him in Spanish, and he looks at the pictures and is imagining everything going on in his mind,” Eva said. “But sometimes, it’s the opposite – he’ll read to me in English, and he’ll be telling me, ‘Oh, this is happening, and this,’ and so I’ll be imagining in my head what’s going on.”

Alex loves to read independently, too, and brings books home from school to read in the afternoons and evenings. Eva often uses that time to read to her youngest son, who’s 8 months old, and describes it as a calm, cherished part of her day.

“In the afternoons, when everything is relaxed, when I don’t have to do anything more, everything is peaceful,” she said.

But it’s not always calm and peaceful in a busy house with five kids, Eva said, laughing. There are days her children might not feel like reading, and she just encourages them to give it a try.

“Sometimes I just tell them, ‘OK, well let’s read just one minute, or one page, today then,’” she said. “And then reading, the time passes so fast, and you’re done with the story.”

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