Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading To Older Children

I love listening to stories. I love it when I'm being read to, and I love a good oral storytelling performance. I will admit to being less fond of audio books, particularly when it comes to novels for adults. But as a kid, I loved listening to the records where you listen and then turn the page of a book when you hear a chime. (And if you miss those old 45s or cassettes, take a look at for several hundred digital recordings free for your listening pleasure!)

I came across a blog entry the other day, entitled Why You Should Read Aloud to Older Kids. It has an excellent list of reasons, including allowing your child to hear books above their reading level (but not comprehension), and increasing the variety of books your child soak up. But what caught my attention was the idea of making memories.

I am an oldest child, and I vividly remember my parents reading books with me all the time. But as I recall, the nightly bedtime ritual ended somewhere around the time I was 6 or 7, when my mother and I were reading our way through the Narnia series. After that, the bedtime ritual became a thing between my parents and younger brothers. (Although there was many a time that I read the bedtime books to my youngest brother instead of my parents.)

Since I was eldest, and always had my nose in a book anyway, they probably thought there was no need. However, there was one time of year that guaranteed I would hear my mother read me a story, and for a full week: Chanukkah! I can even remember being in high school when she was ostensibly reading to the brother 8 years my junior, but it was always me that asked for the story, and I eagerly awaited this ritual every year.

The book we read was fun - a silly and somewhat educational book about Chanukkah: The Animated Menorah: Travels on a Space Dreidel"

It had a story for each day, so this was a treat to savor. There was a joke that my mother would have to record herself reading this book when I went off to college.

Time marches on, and it has been nearly two decades since my mother read aloud to me at Chanukkah. In college I would come home, and occasionally sit down with my youngest brother and read to him: The Boggart by Susan Cooper, the first Harry Potter book when it was new. And this was when he was in middle school himself.

As an adult, I have made part of my living reading aloud to kids, and telling stories to kids and adults. I treasure the storytellers out there still honing their craft and telling stories for everyone to share. It brings me the same sense of wonder I felt as a child, when people read aloud to me.

As a mother, now I am the one making memories for my daughter (or will be once she gets old enough to remember these times together). I hope to continue these long after she is reading on her own, if she will let me.

What are your favorite reading memories as a child? What memories have you made lately?

This entry is cross-posted here at Dreamwidth.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Oddly enough, I don't recall my mother ever reading to me when I was a child. I still wound up with a love of books; I even have my picture book of Sleeping Beauty to this day. But I don't remember being read to at all.

I love that you have such positive memories of this, and that you read to your siblings too.