Our Story Begins:
Read Aloud To Your Kids
“I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for.”
If you don’t recognize that quote above there, it’s Dickens. If you’ve never read Dickens’ original A Christmas Carol, you should just for the deadpan humor in it. In fact, you should read it out loud . . . it will register in your brain even better that way. This isn’t your high-school English assignment.
This time of year, in particular, I read to my kids. I read to all of my kids. Even my oldest daughter, home from college, stands in the doorway to hear me read from the old 1900 edition I own of Dickens’ beloved tale. When you read out loud you act out the drama, you show imagination and . . . you’re engaging your kids.
I have always been a firm believer in reading to children. I had always postulated that reading aloud was giving much-needed attention to children and bookending their day. I believe it sparks imagination and creativity and gives them to tools to start their own quest for adventure and knowledge. It sparks their interest in stories and books.
Turns out . . . I wasn’t too far off.
Earlier this year the Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines encouraging parents to read to their children. As mentioned in the article linked here: “Reading with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships and stimulate early language development,” Dr. Pamela High, a pediatrician and professor at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, told The Huffington Post.” It goes on to say that less than 40% of low-income families read to their kids. It’s not much better for high-income areas. Just under 60% of parents read to their kids in affluent areas. Why? I cannot begin to fathom. For me, reading at night not only gives the brain benefits it gives me the ability to spend time with my kids. I read Dr. Seuss and get tongue-tied. I read Doulas Adams and laugh in the middle of sentences.
This time of year you shouldn’t be afraid to give books. I do, I even gave them to my very young niece . . . who can’t even read yet. Her parents, however, read to her all the time and she watches and listens. She understands and loves when you read in amazing voices.
I don’t care if you have a Kindle or an e-reader or an iPad. You can be like me and prefer the feel of paper under your fingers. My kids go to the library both at school and at our local library. When I was a young parent I used to think that was a disappointment to them, perhaps, because they didn’t own the books they got. It was my children, however, that showed me this was a treasure trove of stories and adventures to be had.
This sparked their intelligence and their artistic sense and their love of science. It sparked imagination. It sparked time together for a single Dad and his kids.
What about you? Do you read to your kids? Do you give books or go to the library? What are your favorite books to read to your kids? I want to know!