There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island…

Walt Disney

Who read to you as a child? Anyone? Did you have any favorite books or stories? Do you remember any of those books or stories?

I remember my father reading to my siblings and me when I was younger than seven. He read stories by Thornton W. Burgess who was a conservationist as well as an author. The books were about animal characters and the books were named after them, like The Adventures of Bob White (bobwhite is a quail) and The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk. He read those stories while my mother cut my hair and the hair of my three siblings. Mom read to us, too, but I more remember her reading to our three sons as she acted out the parts.

Reading aloud to children is important. In addition to the benefits of increasing their vocabulary and attention span, helping them understand the connection between the written and spoken word, and more, I believe that it also creates a strong bond between adult and child.

Bob and I began reading to our three sons when they were old enough to hold their heads up while sitting in our laps. If you’ve read to children, you know that they have favorite books that they ask you to read again and again. My husband and I repeatedly read Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat and other books so many times that if we inadvertently skipped or changed a word, one of our sons would nudge and correct us.

Many of their picture books, given to them by their grandparents or by us, still stand on the shelves in our family room. We read them to our grandsons

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Bob reading to grandsons Andrew and Ryan six years ago.

before their bedtime when they visit, and now, with the pandemic, every Thursday evening over Skype.

We believe so strongly in the importance of reading to children that whenever we are invited to a baby shower, our gifts are books, usually a board book and a collection of nursery rhymes. We include inside one of the books a letter from us that encourages the soon-to-be-parents to read to their child, and why it’s important.

It remains important even after the child is able to read for themselves. According to one article by an educator, a child’s reading level usually doesn’t catch up to their comprehension level until eighth grade. Besides, why would you want to give up that special time of snuggling together while escaping into another world?

There are many magical reasons for reading aloud to children but the best? You encourage them to become a reader.

Just like you.