Soft feet dangling over my legs, a cuddly body next to me, listening to every word I read and waiting for me to open the magical doors to a new storyland…. The pleasures of reading out to my kids had been immense.
Over years chapter books have replaced the picture books and then novels, which nowadays they just read it off kindle.
I missed those bonding time with my babies though. One day we decided to have family reading time instead of TV time. Of what a turnaround was that? We piled pillows on the carpet, got some late evening snacks and with each a book, the four of us had a magical time reading together. The enthusiasm of my kids was contagious and the time, momentous. I was reading a thriller, my husband something nonfiction, my daughter was in dystopian world while my son immersed in another prank inducing chapter book.
Reading together is a great family bonding exercise. The best conversations you can have are when the little ones imagine their story world. When the kids were younger, and I read out to them, they loved the different accent and sounds that I made for different characters and mostly created sing along villain poems. Today we have just as fun discussing the book we read. Of course they are my first audience whenever I want to write a story.
Many times these lead to making up new endings, reviewing my work and mostly having a world to ourselves. Of course sometimes conversations in my house goes something like this:
Me: P (daughter) can you get me some water?
P: accio water. Mom spell doesn’t work, do the muggle way yourself!
Other times my son might try out the tricks from Diary of a wimpy kid or from Horrid Henry. They love to share their world and in my experience this makes them share their life with me better.
Reading together means shared experiences and often on our trips to the grocery, park or beach many of the fictional characters come along. If the drive is long, they are definitely part of our conversation.
Reading together also helps me to suggest of so lightly that maybe they should try reading some book like “ Pride and Prejudice”? Some work where the language is better and characters have depth? Of course my failure rates are sky high.
Reading together especially in small children opens up their imaginative, thinking and language skills. There is a world of possibilities out there and children get to be more confident, open and optimistic as well as well read.
As children’s author Emilie Buchwald has so famously said, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” Like once upon a time, the bond of reading together also lasts forever.
Spread the joy of reading, and do it together with family!