Kids Read to Us

Reading aloud--what can I add to endorse this that diverse groups haven't from Werner Jaeger in Paedeia:  The Ideals of Greek Culture to RIF to this New York Times article I posted some time ago

Here's a quotation from another New York Times article by Susan Engel about reading aloud:  "Imagine, for instance, a third-grade classroom that was free of the laundry list of goals currently harnessing our teachers and students, and that was devoted instead to just a few narrowly defined and deeply focused goals.  In this classroom, children would spend two hours each day hearing stories read aloud, reading aloud themselves, telling stories to one another and reading on their own."

Hmmmm!  A million websites, books, and studies corroborate that reading aloud to your kids helps them.  The ancients read everything aloud.  Remember Philip hearing the Ethiopian eunuch reading aloud?

But what I can't find is something to support how good it is to let kids read to you!  My mother had us read to her from our McGuffey's Readers when we were learning to read.  For fun, my grandmother suffered me to read P. G. Wodehouse, Lewis Caroll, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harriet the Spy, Five Little Peppers, and other books to her many a Thursday when I was 10-12 years old.  We had a great time and I'm sure it improved my ability to invent accents and funny voices, as well as my pronunciation and vocabulary.  We also discussed the books, exclaimed at the climaxes, and roared with laughter at characters like the White Knight and Galahad Threepwood.  I think my mother ironed when I was reading, but I don't know my Grandmother did.

I know what I did, however, when some kids were reading to me the other day.  Did my mending, tried to sweep, and kept standing in the middle of the room, saying "Wait, she did that?  What's going to happen?" 

What's not to like in this arrangement?  We read for an hour and a half. I'm sure the kids were benefiting.  And I finished my mending.  As I love being read aloud to, and loved the book we were reading, I kept thinking, "I wish this could go on forever."

So pull out those chores you can do in company (see this blog post!) and let those kids read aloud, maybe every day, at least once a week.

Do read to the kids as well.  Here's a beloved voice reading Thomas Howard's If Your Mind Wanders at Mass (available from Ignatius Press on audiobook and downloadable.)



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