I have long been an advocate of the power of reading aloud.
When my children were little we would curl up together on the couch and have adventures galore via wonderful books. I’ll never forget my son running from the room when he couldn’t bear to hear another moment of the gripping drama unfolding in Meet Addy by Connie Porter, or the laughter we shared when Morris the Moose got a cold and Boris the Bear cared for him (series by B. Wiseman). For years, he and his sister had imaginary orphan adventures after hearing The Boxcar Children and tales from The Orphan Train Quartet.
Later, when my son went through a reluctant reader spell, I had only to read the first chapter aloud of something I knew he’d like before he’d begrudgingly grab it, saying, “Ok, I’ll read it.”
When I became an elementary school librarian, the greatest joy of each day was coming to the end of a story and watching several hands thrust in the air with pleading cries of, “Can I have that book!?”
In my own classroom the magic continued, but deepened, with the addition of chapter books and strategic stopping points. “Noooooooooooo! You can’t stop there!!!!! Just a little more!” Followed by a sheepish and a bit smug, “Tomorrow.”
Lately I’ve been reminded of the power of a good story after reading aloud to a gravely ill friend. She mentioned in a Facebook post that her current medication affected her eyes, making reading difficult. When I asked if I might come read to her, she said yes. We started with one of my favorites, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. We made if halfway through in our first sitting and finished it in the second. This dear friend cried, then laughed through her tears, exclaiming that she couldn’t believe she cared so much about a china rabbit. I guess we are never too old to be carried away by beautiful words and the powerful magic of the read aloud.
cross posted at wereadbetter.com