Love in Action: Read Aloud

Love in Action Day 11

Today’s loving action is a sacrifice of time and often personal preferences for the love of your children.  It’s also a real crowd-pleaser.  If they don’t already, your children will grow to love this. It’s just one more reason to refocus on the simple priorities of life.


Read aloud to your children.

It doesn’t matter how old your children are. Reading aloud to them takes you on a shared adventure, a journey of togetherness.

Baby steps.

If your children are not accustomed to listening to you read aloud, don’t start with Homer’s Iliad.  Some children will sit through two hours of straight reading.  Others are better off with five- or ten-minute sessions, such as during your morning snuggle, after lunch, and before bed.

Stop reading for the day while they are still interested. (Oh, sweet torture!)  When they’re caught up in a story, they’ll be begging you to read more.

Let them wiggle!

Allow children to build with blocks, color, knit, stand on their heads, or sketch while they’re listening.  I like to teach my crew a new skill, such as knitting, and then read while they make my birthday presents.  (I don’t peek, naturally.)  Often I will find a coloring book or paper dolls that coincide with the book, or I will make photocopies of the book’s illustrations for them to color.  (It’s legal — personal use!)

What should you read?

Give them some say in the books you choose, within your family’s guidelines, of course.  It’s quite exciting for all involved if you introduce some of your childhood favorites or hit the library to hunt down new treasures together.  Eventually you will want to seek out higher quality books and weed out some of the chaff, but for now, just read.

Read whatever good books you have on hand. As you search for great books to read in the future, check out the following:

You’re in for some great adventures!

Together you’ll travel to Narnia and Treasure Island. You’ll be shipwrecked on an island and make your home in the trees. You’ll discover a noothbrush on your toothbrush and climb to the top of a tree to party with the dogs. You’ll meet the Moffats and Pippi Longstocking and watch the five little Peppers grow. You’ll tame the mighty black stallion, cry through Black Beauty’s losses, and ride along with Marguerite Henry and the great horses of history. You’ll memorize Prayer for a Child and Dr. Seuss’ ABC. You’ll flee Egyptian priests from Bubastes and sail the seas with Odysseus.

You’ll meet the real Mary Poppins. You’ll help Charlotte save Wilbur, help Christopher unstick Pooh (again), and tag along on vet visits with Dr. Herriot. You’ll make friends with Patricia St. John and Louisa May Alcott. You’ll empathize with Beezus and root for Henry. You’ll cheer through Understood Betsy and bake through The Little House series. You’ll give a moose a muffin, a mouse a cookie, and a pig a pancake. And you’ll do all of it, together. Why, I’m almost envious!

You may have tangible wealth untold.
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a mother who read to me.

~Strickland Gillilan

Are you curious about some of the reading adventures to which I alluded?  Click here, my curious friend, and be enlightened.

What are your family’s favorite read-alouds?

Helpful Tools: Our family is currently reading through the Little House series.  Much like other great series (Anne of Green Gables, Chronicles of Narnia), there are many add-ons available to make the experience even richer.  Check out some of the many extras that go along with the Little House books:

Read to Your Children: Little House Paper Dolls

And, of course, you can always retrace the Ingalls family’s steps, including a stop in Pepin, Wisconsin for Laura Ingalls Wilder Days.