Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Joy of Reading To Children

I don't get to read to kids any more. This realization struck me while I was waiting to meet with a fellow speech therapist in the school district where I work. Her room held at least one hundred children's books stored on shelves, in cubbies, and spread across tables. As an administrator now, I don't have the opportunity to dig deep into books with children and explore solutions to problems like ways the Little Critter could clean his room more efficiently and what Alexander could do so he wouldn't have another terrible, very bad day.

I also used to love reading to my sons. We'd go to the library each week and select at least twenty books. At home, we'd spread them out on the family room floor and settle on our couch. Max and Greg would take turns selecting the book they wanted me to read. There were times, we'd read all twenty books in one sitting. There were times, like with The Trouble With Trolls by Jan Brett, that I just keep reading the same story over and over at their urgent request of, "One more time, Mommy." I never minded. In fact, I welcomed the chance to make my voice a little more dramatic in certain scenes; the pausing between words a touch more effective.

While reminiscing as I stood waiting for the therapist to walk through the door, I noticed this book by Laura Vaccaro Seeger:

I'd never seen it before. There was a day when I was up to date with the latest and greatest children's books, but those days were over. Oh how I wished there was a group of children sitting at the table begging me to read the story aloud, but there wasn't. So I did the next best thing. I sat down, opened the book and read a riveting story in the middle of my work day.

What was the result?

A warm feeling accompanied by the memory of children's faces lighting up with emotion at  different scenarios  from an abundance of stories. At home later that day, I went into my basement and found this—a treasury of books that will eventually find their way to the the ears and eyes of a child again:

Here are just some of the benefits of reading to children listed on the website, Raise Smart Kids:
  •  Reading to your kid makes you bond with him/her, and gives your child a sense of intimacy and well-being.   
  • It calms your child, especially when he/she is fretful or restless.
  • It promotes increased communication between you and your child.
  • It builds listening skills and imagination.
Although I've never done a study, I'm pretty certain that if we switched the words kid/child to adult, the findings would be the same. Go back and try it.

What's your favorite children's story?

I have so many, but the one that just popped into my mind is The Mitten by Jan Brett.

Here's a special treat. The governor of New Jersey, Christopher Christie reading Twas the Night Before Christmas accompanied by the Boston Pops. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, you're sure to enjoy this.


Of course, it's a children's book. I'm going with a relatively new book by Linda Hales, Andy Roo. This is what Amazon has to say: 

"Andy-Roo is a young puppy who grew long legs and feet quite different from the other kids at the playground. This book tells his story, especially how he overcame his differences and became a popular player in little league games. Andy-Roo's experiences are captured in short picture stories that will appeal to the young reader in the 3-7 year age bracket. A moral is embedded in every tale that will not be lost on the young reader but will be remembered in context with Andy-Roo, the character. Most of all, his tales always make children smile!

Here's the Amazon link:


A seasonal story song: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sung by Destiny's Child. Nice lipstick, Beyonce!




  1. Hi,
    I have nominated your blog for the blog of the year 2012. If you want to participate, please go to and follow the instructions on the blog of the year 2012 award.
    Have a great second Advent's Sunday.

  2. What a wonderful "dreamy" blog post. Forgive me this word, it's meant in the best way!! I just love it!!

  3. I loved this, Peggy! Thank you so much, and may all your Christmases be bright!

  4. I made a lot of mistakes as a mom but one thing I am proud of is reading to my children from crib-age to about age 12. I look back at this with great fondness. Thanks for reminding me.

  5. I'm reading to a child for the first time in about thirty years, and I'm loving it! My 18-month-old granddaughter loves books, and I'll read them over and over again as many times as she wants, especially if she's snuggling on my lap. Right now, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK is her favorite. Sometimes I'll hear her saying "beep, beep, beep" when she's playing with her blocks.

  6. Lovely post, Peggy. I remember reading books including Kipling's original "Jungle Books" to my kid, whilst we were on camping holidays in Europe during the 1990's. They weren't babies, but aged 8-14. It was still great, a real bonding experience in the darkness with French and Italian cicadas singing outside.