We often talk about the benefits of reading aloud to our children -- but we usually focus on the benefits to the children. Today, let’s reflect on the ways reading aloud to our children benefits ourselves as parents, our families and our relationships with each other.
I’m no ham and I rarely attempt read-aloud theatrics, accents or voices, but boy-oh-boy do I love the rush I get when I have my young audience shrieking with laughter, swooning, raving and begging for more. Sure, all I’m doing is reading the printed word, the real genius is the author, but I’m the main act at our house and I bask in the glow of my appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Childhood is short -- I treasure the precious moments when reading aloud makes me a star in the eyes of my children.
The cuddly intimacy that it prompts is an obvious but overlooked benefit of taking time each day to read aloud to our little ones – regardless of how big said little ones may be! My ten year old is as tall as I am and a voracious reader herself but our at-least-daily read-aloud time gives us regular and natural opportunities to cram into a tight huddle and snuggle. And I’m secretly delighted after each meal when my eight year old trots around to my side of the table, climbs onto my lap and insists that I read – though my own meal sits half eaten. The intimacy that reading together inspires spills over into the rest of our lives, reminding us to touch and to nurture and to remember the little people who still linger inside these stretching, confident, eye-rolling bodies. That’s hitting the jackpot for any parent.
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