I believe that reading aloud to children is the most important thing parents and educators can do to help cultivate a love of reading. Our family’s reading rituals started before our son, Dan, was born. While he was still in utero, my husband and I read aloud: The Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, The Reluctant Dragon, The Secret Garden, A Christmas Carol, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as a slew of picture books, including: The Story About Ping, Ask Mr. Bear, The Angry Moon, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, and Can I Keep Him. All of these books later became some of his favorites. He grew up loving to be read to, and now he and his wife are establishing their own read-aloud rituals with their newborn son.
This love of reading is passed from generation to generation, and the special books, stories, and poems become part of the vocabulary of the family. I grew up with phrases from Winnie-the-Pooh (the A. A. Milne version), so even today when someone asks me “How are you?”–I tend to want to answer: “Not very how…I haven’t been very how for a long time…” –An Eeyore response, for sure! A memory of my mother braiding my hair and reciting the sad little poem, “Little Boy Blue,” by Eugene Fields, is one of my earliest and most tender memories.
So for me, being read aloud to is one of life’s real pleasures, a joy instilled in me from before birth, I’m sure. I thought of that yesterday when I got in the car and started my new audiobook. I love listening to these wonderfully talented readers/narrators, reading these very enjoyable stories. I only live 2 miles from my work, and don’t spend a lot of time in my car (unlike most of the Seattle area commuters), but it’s amazing how many books I can listen to over time, and how much I still enjoy being read to!