I debated on whether to do a post about International Read to Me Day or National Let’s Laugh Day. I know you thought I’d go for the laughing one because of happiness and Choose Joy…but no. I find the ability to read one of the most important in any child. I have very strong thoughts about it. Plus, I already took the (above) photo of some of my favorite picture books and was rather excited about talking about reading, so there you have it. But laughter is good too. Especially while you’re reading. Aloud to children.
Some of the most precious memories I have of my childhood are listening to my parents read to me. My mother always read to me before my daily nap (before I was old enough to go to school). I distinctly remember trying to bargain her into “just one more” book before I had to nap (now I would nap happily). I remember my nine siblings and I—or whoever was at home at the time—would pile into Mom and Dad’s king-size while Mom read to us about Betsy and Tacy, the Wizard of Oz before Dorothy, and the centaurs in A Wrinkle in Time. I discovered some of my favorite books while lying in that bed, staring up at the wooden canopy with the carving of a tree in the middle.
The reading didn’t begin and end there, though. Every morning at 6, we’d all drag out of bed to read The Book of Mormon and The Bible, something I’m grateful for now. I adore those books; I read them daily. At Christmas, Dad would read us Christmas books, some which have become my favorites. One year (1997), Dad bought this huge three-wick red candle he dubbed the Christmas candle. Every Sunday during the Christmas season, he’d light it and read a Christmas story by its flickering illumination. We’d eat Christmas cookies and drink hot chocolate or apple cider. My parents still have it. And we still sometimes read by it.
Reading Aloud to Children:
Being read to has shaped my life, giving me a love for words, for books, for people and cultures. For life. It has brought such joy to my soul. I think the creative process of writing is one of the greatest aspects of creation that humans wield. I don’t have children, but I have nieces and nephews that I share my love of reading with. If it’s hard to fit in the time to share this with those you love, here are a few ideas:
- Early morning reading. This was the only time of day we were all together growing up. It was worth it.
- Before nap time. Kids will do anything to avoid nap time, even read; it’s a great way to instill the love of books in them. I read to my nephew after nap time today. He was kind of sleepy and soft, not nearly as active as usual.
- At bedtime. Reading to kids at bedtime is a classic. Plus, it’s a calming way to ease the wild ones to sleep.
- Meals. Kids eat slowly. Use this to your advantage and read to them after you’ve finished and they haven’t.
- Once a week. Choose one day you don’t have something going on, maybe the weekends or your day off. Once a week reading to the kids is good, especially if they’re older and enjoy a good novel.
Whatever form it takes and whoever you read to, share that love of reading. It’s addictive and joyful.