Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Who Read to You?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Back in August, I happened across this piece in my local newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, by the author Christopher de Vinck. (Hopefully the DMS will allow one article behind the paywall!) It was a celebration of the life of New Jersey journalist, and later educator, Jim Trelease.


In 1982, a year before my daughter was born, Jim published a little book called THE READ ALOUD HANDBOOK. While working for the Springfield Daily News, Jim volunteered to visit local classrooms to talk to students about journalism and art. Jim noticed that the children who read for pleasure came from classrooms where teachers read aloud daily. When he began to research, he discovered that children who were read aloud to also had bigger vocabularies and did better academically. 

Sharing the benefits of reading aloud became Jim's life mission. THE READ ALOUD HANDBOOK spent 17 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. It is now in its 8th edition, with an updated treasury of book recommendations. (Ordering a copy for my daughter now!)



If I hadn't already been motivated to read to my daughter, this book would have convinced me! And of course children who are read to read to their own children, as my daughter has to my granddaughter.

It's odd but I don't remember either of my parents reading to me. But my grandmother, who lived with us and had been a teacher, did, and I'm sure that had a lot to do with my having been an early reader and developing a lifelong love of books. 

The defining memory of my grade school years was my sixth grade teacher reading A WRINKLE IN TIME aloud to us. I could not wait for the end of the day and that day's chapter!


Now, I put myself to sleep every night listening to audio books, and I'm not the only one!


Michael Buble falls asleep to Matthew McConaughey every night! There is something so enormously comforting about being read to, and I think we process stories and language in a different way. We shouldn't give up being read to just because we're grown up. (And, of course we have Hank and Hannah to read to us twice weekly with their fabulous First Chapter Fun!) 

My fictional characters carry on the tradition, as you can see in this little snippet from A KILLING OF INNOCENTS:

After supper, Kincaid had overseen baths while Gemma did the washing up. Then he’d read a chapter of The Wind in the Willows to Charlotte and Toby. His mother had recently sent him the copy he and Juliet had read as children, with its original Ernest Shepard illustrations.

Kit, who was supposed to be studying, had come in quietly, removing his earbuds as he folded himself into a seat on the floor just inside Charlotte’s doorway.

“Mum read it to me,” Kit said afterwards, when the younger children were tucked up in their beds and just he and Kincaid stood in the hallway between the bedrooms. “I remember thinking that it had been written just for me, that it was my river, and that if I just looked hard enough I’d see Rat or Mole or Toad.”

REDs and readers, who read to you? Did it spark your love of reading? Do you have memories of particular books? 


93 comments:

  1. I don’t remember my mother reading to us, but I am certain that she did. I also don’t remember ever not being able to read. I do remember Jean and I reading to each other.

    I read to my children and to the children in my classroom . . . we’d never read just one book, and our reading time was the highlight of the day . . . ..

    ReplyDelete
  2. My mom always read to me. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with books. I read to my 5-years-younger sister. People acted shocked that a child of 5 or 6 could actually read a book.

    I loved A Wrinkle In Time too. My childhood copy is long gone but I have a lovely leather bound edition now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you know that A Wrinkle in Time is one of the most banned books? https://bannedbooks.library.cmu.edu/madeleine-lengle-a-wrinkle-in-time-draft/

      Delete
  3. Interesting question since I became deaf before I was two years old. I often wonder if it is possible to read aloud to Deaf children. I once saw a kindergarten teacher use a teddy bear with holes in the arms for the teacher's arms and hands to sign a story from a children's book.

    As a child, our public school teacher would sign the stories of Three Bears and Goldilocks in the classroom among other stories.

    And I recall reading the comics from the Sunday paper with my Mom when I was a young child.

    My parents were amazed that within weeks of my starting Catholic school, I was reading and writing! Growing up, I always saw my Mom and Dad reading books. My Mom would read historical fiction while my Dad would read Science Fiction.

    Once when I was in college, my beleaguered two year old cousin asked me to read her a story from her favorite children's book and she could not understand my Deaf accent. I felt so bad for her. Eventually she learned Sign Language and we are good.

    Loved Wrinkle in Time. I just learned that I received a copy for my 10th birthday and it disappeared so I never read the novel until last year!

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you read it again, Diana. I think I have a collection of all of those stories on Kindle now. L'Engle's books had a huge impact on me.

      Delete
    2. Debs, I am so glad that I finally got a chance to read Wrinkle in Time. I never knew that I got a copy for my birthday so many years ago. My Mom remembered and she also recalled that someone "borrowed it". Love Madeleine L"Engle novels.

      Diana

      Delete
  4. I love that snippet, Debs. A lovely scene.

    I'm the third child of four, and I can't remember being read to, but I'm sure I was. We had a houseful of books and everyone was always reading. I even have a picture of me in nursery school sitting on the floor absorbed in a book.

    And I read SO many books to my sons, including reading to my older boy as I nursed my younger one. The things I learned about construction vehicles!

    That younger one grew but was a short pre-schooler. He had a book with stories about giants, some who were real people, that he loved. I read it to him so many times he memorized some of the stories and would "read" them to me, even though he couldn't actually read yet. It was so sweet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both sons continued to be avid readers now in their adult lives.

      Delete
    2. Oh! I just remembered my grandfather reading the Brer Rabbit stories to us, in all the voices. (Probably a racist collection by now, but I didn't know that as a child.)

      Delete
    3. Sweet memories, Edith! And, yes, you're probably right about Brer Rabbit, but it was a great book to read aloud.

      Delete
    4. Edith, my mother described me as being like your son. I’d ask for the same book over and over until in was firmly in my memory, then I’d “read” it to her, to Daddy, and anyone else I could “corner”. Thank you for sparking this memory. Elisabeth

      Delete
  5. Wonderful post Debs! Love the snippet of course...I think my dad read aloud more than our mother. I still have my copy of THE SCARY THING, one of my earliest owned books. When driving with our kids (before tv screens in the back of seats or Ipads), we all listened to EB White's THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN, and most definitely a big favorite, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had quite a few car trips to Quebec and back listening to EB White read Charlotte's Web (on cassette tapes). My sons loved it, and I did, too.

      Delete
    2. Edith, do you listen to audiobooks now? I love them but am very picky about narrators.

      Delete
    3. I only listen when on a long solo car trip. Good narrators blow me away! (As do my audiobook royalty checks - who knew?)

      Delete
    4. I have to be careful listening to audio books in the car. I've been known to miss exits and end up miles from where I intended...

      Delete
  6. My mother read to me. Not just children's books. I can remember sitting with her in her big arm chair when I was tiny while she read poems like "Annabelle Lee" and "The Harp Weaver." Each terrifying in its own way.

    My grandmother read to me. My aunt read to me. I was eager to read and pretended to read books I'd memorized, but didn't learn until I was in school.

    I read to Jonathan every day, from the day I brought him home. We snuggled up several times a day and read. We would go to the library where he would choose a dozen books at a time. We read everything the library had on dinosaurs and natural history. The summer he turned 5, I read him The Hobbit. When we finished that, I told him about The Lord of the Rings, explaining that it was darker and scarier, but he said he wanted to hear it. Every night throughout his Kindergarten year, we snuggled up before bed and read. It took all year. Most nights, Irwin joined us. Sweet memory.

    Debs, your snippet made me cry. Kit is such a wonderful character.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very sweet memory, Judy.

      Delete
    2. My mom recited poetry to us too... I remember snippets of the Highwayman, the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and Annabel Lee. So cool that you started Jonathan on The Hobbit so early. My mom read it to us when we were school age and we went on to read LOTR ourselves (and re-read it every winter break for several years)

      Delete
    3. That is a great memory, Judy. I'd have loved reading LOTR to my daughter but she was NOT INTERESTED. She's an avid reader but still not a big fan of fantasy.

      Delete
  7. My father read to us, Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte's Web, Wind in the Willows, Dr. Seuss. And my husband read to our children. When our youngest was born, she joined the others for bedtime stories and had the benefit of two older sibs reading to her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love hearing that dads read aloud. I don't think my father ever read to me, although we shared books that we loved later on.

      Delete
  8. Good question. I became an avid reader thanks to my mom but I don't remember her reading to me at all. Instead, I remember her taking me to the public library on a regular basis to borrow lots of books that I read on my own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You certainly grew up to be an avid reader, Grace!

      Delete
    2. I remember going to the public library as a young child and borrowing books, Grace. I could pick whatever books I wanted to read.

      Diana

      Delete
  9. My husband used to read Nancy Drew to our little daughter, until she started poking holes in the plot – that's my girl! :-) Joyce W.

    ReplyDelete
  10. As the oldest child I'm sure my mother read to me, but I have no memory of it. Later, I read to everyone else, and continued with my own children. Some of our best memories are of the pre-bedtime storytimes, sitting on one of their beds, or cuddled together on the landing, reading as many as four books. I used lots of voices, and so did Steve, but his were endlessly more dramatic!

    Maybe being read to is why I love audiobooks so much. Probably a quarter of the books I read these days are in that form, and it's such a pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a very dramatic reader, Karen, and so is my daughter. I love listening to her read to Wren.

      Delete
  11. Thank you for this topic! My parents were both librarians, so we were read to from the beginning. I remember dad reading Winnie the Pooh, with one twin on each side of him. He was a great mimic, so he did voices for the different characters. Mom was a children's librarian and brought us books and read to us all the time. As we got older, she used to read aloud in the back yard on summer evenings. She read The Iliad and The Hobbit to us during different summers. As part of her job, she would do school visits where she would share books and tell stories to different classes. She had a felt board that she took along.

    My primary teachers all read to our classes. Particularly, I remember Mrs. Girard reading Charlotte's Web in third grade. I was so sad when Charlotte died.

    I too read to my son all the time, starting from babyhood. I had Horton Hatches the Egg memorized. He started reading at 3 , but (maybe because of autism) much preferred reading the same things over and over to reading widely. He wore out the Harry Potter books and would stand in line for each new release. Now as an adult, he reads to me. He was reading Elective Affinities by Goethe as part of his studies, so I got to hear a lot of that this summer. My twin, her husband, and their adult daughter read aloud together every night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your childhood sounds enchanted, Gillian. And I remember being read Charlotte's Web in school and being desperately sad.

      Delete
  12. My sixth-grade teacher read "A Wrinkle in Time" aloud to our class too!

    ReplyDelete
  13. There weren't any books in the house in my early years--too many mouths to feed. But my mom was an avid reader--hungry for books when she could get them. And the majority of her children turned out to be readers. By the time grandchildren came around, there were always plenty of books and no better place for any of the grandsons to be than on her lap or beside her or at her feet, being read to. My siblings have all read to their sons and I have spent many a pleasurable hour with a nephew on my own lap, reading. Youngest two were readers before they ever got to school. And now my grand-nephew and I read together. (He's very dramatic, loves doing all the voices, and shares choice bits with me when we are doing 'silent' reading side-by-side).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that you're sharing the tradition with your grand-nephew, Flora.

      Delete
    2. And I love the snippet you shared with us, Deborah! Kit is one of my favorite characters.

      Delete
  14. Like others, I have no reliable memory of being read to, but I'm pretty sure my mother must have read to me at bedtime. Certainly, she took us often to the library. Good books were part of daily life, just like good meals were.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This snippet is so moving Debs.
    I don’t remember having been read to. There was not a lot of books at home but there were many newspapers and magazines that my parents liked to read.
    My love of books began at school, never left me and I read to my daughter and bought her lots of books.
    Danielle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Danielle. I love that little bit, and I love that Duncan reads to the kids. And that Gemma does as well, because she wasn't read to growing up and it's been a learning process for her.

      Delete
    2. Deborah, since it is not yet published, I could not have read this scene of reading before. But as I read it, it felt so familiar. Although my “imagined memory” was of Kit reading to Toby and Duncan overhearing. Elisabeth

      Delete
  16. I have no memory of my parents reading to me, but I'm sure they did, particularly my dad. I do remember my grandmothers reading.

    I read to The Girl. We read Harry Potter together. I tried to do the same with The Boy, but he was having none of it, although we did get through a few Rick Riordan books together. He read more when he was little, but fell off in middle school and now he hardly reads at all (although he can - when forced his comprehension is excellent).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz, this brought back a memory of driving across the country with our kids, the one with the learner's permit behind the wheel, and taking turns reading the newest Harry Potter to each other because she was mad that her little sister got to spend the trip reading it!

      Delete
    2. Maybe your son will read later in life, Liz.

      Delete
  17. I remember my mother telling me stories, but not reading to me. But my third-grade teacher read to us every day and I especially remember her reading one of the Little House books. I read to my own children and we had lots of books but got even more from the library. But maybe a favorite memory was my five or six-year old son, and sometimes my daughter who was younger, reading to my youngest while he sat on his potty. They read a little book called Do Baby Bears Sit on Chairs? They wore book out from so many readings. We bought another and they wore that one out too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so interesting what appeals to different kids. One of my daughter's favorites was Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen. We wore out several copies of that.

      Delete
  18. I have a very vivid memory of a dear older cousin reading to me, a Nancy Drew, while rocking in a lawn swing. Because of that, I became determined to learn to read myself. I remember that at first I was disappointed that without Donna doing the voices it wasn't quite as interesting! My parents didn't read to us much, I was the oldest of four, all under eight. They were too busy, but I always got to go to the library. I suspect that it kept me quiet.
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad your cousin ignited the reading spark, Chris!

      Delete
  19. This is so sweet! Funnily enough, I remember Cyril Richard reading to me. My parents gave me the record, it was a 78 RPM record, maybe a set of two records. Of Peter Pan. And Cyril Richard and some other actors read the whole thing. He was Captain Hook of course, and Mr. Darling, of course, and I know there were women’s voices too. And I played it over and over and over. I also had the 78 RPM of James Thurber’s Many Moons, which I played until the whole thing was just grooveless. No, when I read that book, and I give it to every kid of the appropriate age, I cannot read it to myself without hearing the voice of the narrator. I guess I was an early adapter of audiobooks! Once, for a later birthday, in my 20s I bet, my dad gave me the cassette tape of the Thurber record, and I have it somewhere, but with nowhere to play it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. My mom, who is now 96 and going strong, always said to my brother and me” books are your best friends”… she still says it and they are!!! I’m a voracious reader… I’m sure she and dad read aloud to us… but I’m 72 and the memory is a little wonky!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those last few years, I read to my mom. She loved Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody books.

      Delete
  21. Oh, what a great article! My Dad always read to me as a child and could do voices too. I do not remember exactly which books but my Mom always thought if you read to children, then they would not read for themselves, which proved to be wrong. One of my grade school teachers used to read to us the last half hour of the day and one particular book about a blind boy and his dog trying to get out of Pompeii while the mountain was erupting still sticks in my mind. I got my dream job when I was in my late sixties/early seventies, at the local library working behind the Check in/Check out desk. Wonderful memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder why your mom thought that. So interesting.

      Delete
  22. I do have fond memories of my mom reading to me when I was very small, but I was an early reader and soon moved to reading on my own.

    But when our son was little, my husband and I each took a turn reading to him each night. And as he grew older, we all enjoyed the activity so much we took to reading aloud big chapter books, with all of us taking a turn sometimes. As the Harry Potter series came out we eventually switched from that to the wonderful Jim Dale narrated audiobooks, which we listened to as a family. Those are some of my favorite memories of raising him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love the Jim Dale Harry Potters. I think those were the very first thing that got me hooked on audio books. I may have to listen to them again soon.

      Delete
  23. My mother read to my brother and me when we were children and even early teens. One of our favorite family activities was going the library and picking out our books. The super favorite thing was what we called "Saturday Night Reading Feast." Once we settled on a book, we'd take turns reading it aloud. When we got to a good place to break, we'd snack on something sweet: a piece of cake, cookies, once even pancakes! And then we'd talk about the story, then go back and finish it if the book was short enough. Otherwise my brother and I took turns finishing it on our own during the week. Those Saturday nights were some of my best memories.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I was read to by all the adults in my family, but my most vivid memory of my grandmother reading “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    Departure
    By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
    By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
    At the doorway of his wigwam,
    In the pleasant Summer morning,
    Hiawatha stood and waited.
    All the air was full of freshness,
    All the earth was bright and joyous,
    And before him, through the sunshine,
    Westward toward the neighboring forest
    Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
    Passed the bees, the honey-makers,
    Burning, singing in the sunshine.
    Bright above him shone the heavens,
    Level spread the lake before him;
    From its bosom leaped the sturgeon,
    Sparkling, flashing in the sunshine;
    On its margin the great forest
    Stood reflected in the water,
    Every tree-top had its shadow,
    Motionless beneath the water.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Reading was important to my parents. They were avid readers, and passed on their love of reading to the five of us. They read to us regularly. I still remember my excitement when I was old enough to get a library card! My dad took me to the library on his day off, and he was proud to tell the librarian that his little girl loved to read and wanted to get a library card! Afterwards, we browsed through the entire building. I was awestruck in the presence of all those books! When I, as the oldest, was old enough I started reading to my younger siblings. I also read to my nieces and nephews when they were youngsters.

    Our grandmother, my mom’s mother, also read to us, and often acted out all the parts in the fairy takes she read to us. She also told us her own versions of fairy tales, acting the parts out. She would have all of us laughing at her performances, and her facial expressions had us begging for more!

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love that snippet, Debs. Amongst my favorite books as a child were WINNIE THE POOH, THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD, and many fairytale storybooks. The picture books helped a lot!

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm surprised no one else remembers Jim Trelease!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember him. I had friends who were teachers and his book was a big deal!

      Delete
    2. Debs, I never heard of him. He is a new to me author and thank you for introducing us to him!

      Diana

      Delete
  28. This is marvelous - and the excerpt from A Killing of Innocents brought tears to my eyes - again. It deeply touched me when I read the book, too.

    My dad was the family read-a-louder. I had a chalkboard in my bedroom and he would hand draw and color an illustration of the book. He read fiction and non-fiction, alternating between the stores, and was responsible for my learning to read at the age of two. Every Sunday while my mom cooked supper I would climb on his lap with the comics, he'd read all the comics I wanted except Prince Valiant. Instead he used it to teach me to read helping me make connections between letters, sounds, and meaning. A priceless and lifelong gift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your father sounds wonderful, Kait. And that tickles me about Prince Valiant. I could never figure out what was going on even as an adult:-)

      Delete
  29. Both parents read to us. My father especially liked to read Shakespeare to us. Older brothers and sister would read the comics to me, and, of course, there was radio...no tv then. A child learned to listen and follow the story. As a retired teacher, I used to play old radio shows sometimes to my students because I realized they were unable to follow the audible cues without visual prompting anymore. It's surprising what has been lost in perception in one generation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So interesting, Liane. I wonder if the popularity of audio books and podcasts is reversing that trend?

      Delete
  30. I was read to by my parents, grandparents, and aunts. And I enjoyed it. But I was an early reader and by the time I was five, I read well enough that I preferred reading the stories myself -- I could finish them faster!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get that. That's one reason I love listening to the audio version of books I've read. You don't have to rush to find out what happens, and you can really focus on the language and the structure of the story.

      Delete
  31. Oh, yes, Mom was a librarian so we were read to until we could read on our own and then we were encouraged to read ourselves to sleep. I still do. It's my reward at the end of the day. I remember picture books by Bill Peet the most. And, of course, I read to the Hooligans from in utero until they were 11 and 12 - shocked that they let me read to them that long but we all loved it so much. We still talk about our favorite characters from Gregor the Overlander, Ranger's Apprentice, Fablehaven, and
    so many more. Both of my boys are readers/audio book listeners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenn, my in bed reading was reading myself awake in the morning. I would wake up long before day light and even longer before my parents needed to get up for work. Rather than listen with her “mother’s ears” to my playing with dolls, she gave me permission to “read in my bed” until she got up. Elisabeth

      Delete
    2. My son loved the Bill Peet books. His favorite was The Caboose Who Got Loose (he also loved trains) "When Katy caboose rambled down the train tracks, the engines were steamers with puffing smoke stacks..." It's amazing how well rhymes stick in my brain.

      Delete
  32. That snippet is so sweet. Mom tried to read to me but she claims I was too fidgety and didn't like it. True, I preferred to read to myself but I honestly don't remember her version of events. My teachers in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades read to us and it was wonderful. The only story I remember from 2nd grade (semi-scary teacher) was about Sunny Sunfish. Third grade highlight was The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek. I have that one. Fourth grade was interesting. Before we moved I had a teacher who was probably bipolar or just plain nuts. I don't recall her reading to us. But after we moved my new teacher read to us everyday and I discovered The Secret Garden and Nancy and Plum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, The Secret Garden! I reread it the first summer of the pandemic. The writing makes me swoon.

      Delete
  33. Mother, Daddy, and Pop (Daddy’s father) read to me. Mother read the books; Pop the color comics every Sunday, even holding up dinner to finish them. Daddy did the Sunday comics as well, tolerating my “anger” when he would just describe the scenes in Henry and the Little King. I simply could not believe that there were stories with NO WORDS! I was told folks who visited my mother and me in the days after I was born (in 1946 mothers and their babies stayed in the hospital for at least a week), they would find her reading all the congratulatory cards to me. Elisabeth Thank you, Deborah, for starting this conversation.

    ReplyDelete
  34. My parents both read to my sister and me, though I have no recollection. I have a picture of my dad reading to us so know he did. I distinctly remember telling my mom about my 5th grade teacher reading to us in different voices. She sounded hurt when she replied, “I did voices when I read to you.” 🥲 I read every word of all seven Harry Potter books to my son and husband. This gave me the confidence later to read “in voices” to my students in my job as an elementary librarian.
    Pat S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never minded being silly with the voices, but then I never had to read to a class!

      Delete
  35. Such a great topic! I vividly remember my mother reading to me. The Wizard of Oz. Just her and me snuggled up on the couch after dinner. Jerry and I read to our kids (Oz books, Harry Potter, Rootabaga Stories...) and our kids read all the time to theirs. When I taught elementary school I always read Charlotte's Web to the class after lunch. It helped everyone relax and simmer down after running around, and they all loved it. There's a wonderful organization RAISING A READER that "helps families of young children (birth through age six) develop, practice, and maintain habits of reading together at home." It's all about reading to kids. Having books at home, of course , is key.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the things Jim Trelease focused on was the fact that disadvantaged kids often don't have books in the house. Being read to at school helps make up that gap.

      Delete
  36. Debs, I am always delighted to see yet another thing we have in common. I loved Jim Trelease's Read-A-Loud Handbook, which came out a year before my daughter was born, too. I bought most of the updated versions of the book and also his book for pre-teens and teens entitled Read All About It. I was so thrilled that someone was promoting reading aloud to children on a national stage. One of my favorite activities to do with my two children (daughter and then a son who followed 3 1/2 years later) was to read aloud to them. We moved into our current home (34 years ago) when my daughter was 4 and my son was 1, and the little room between the kitchen and the family room was known as the "reading room" (yes, my blog name is a nod to that). There was a small sofa where I'd cuddle up with the children and read to them. When I had bookcases built in where the sofa had been, we moved to the living room couch. I read an endless amount of picture books to them (and had started that with my daughter) and gradually came the chapter books. Some of my favorite books (and series) we read were the Catwings books by Ursula Le Guin, books by Roald Dahl, Bunnicula by James Howe, Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine (so thrilled to meet him at Bouchercon New Orleans), The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Beverly Cleary books, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books by Alvin Schwartz, Judy Blume books, Shel Silverstein poetry books, Bridge to Terrabithia by Katherine Patterson, the Sideways Stories from Wayside School books by Louis Sachar, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. My son and I started the Harry Potter books when they first came out in the U.S., and I started reading the stories aloud to him (he was 4th or 5th grade). By the time the last Harry Potter book came out, we were sitting on opposite sides of the living room sofa each reading our own copy silently. Another great reading experience with my son was when I read To Kill a Mockingbird out loud to him, and at the end he looked at me and said, "Wow!" I also read lots of books about the Underground Railroad and the Holocaust to them, wanting them to develop a consciousness about those histories. There were so many more, and I also let them read out-loud to me. But, no, my parents didn't read aloud to me. However, my mother always made sure I had time to read and valued books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I didn't know the origin of the name of your blog! That's lovely! And your reading memory is much better than mine. You obviously got your kids off to a terrific start.

      Delete
  37. Kathy, I adore the Catwing books and I think I first heard of them here on the blog through you. Our library system has them in both English and Spanish--so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read LeGuin's adult novels but I don't remember the Catwing books. Looking up now!

      Delete
    2. I love to spread the love for the Catwings books. I think it was third graders I read the first book to, but I love them as an adult, so I think they can be read, or especially read aloud to older kids, too. Oh, and Debs, the reason I remember the books so well is that I think I went through a second childhood reading them, too.

      Delete
  38. It's evening on the West Coast, where my husband and I are visiting my sister, so I'm very, very late reading your post, Deb, but I had to answer because my mother, a librarian like quite a few fellow JRW readers' parents, read to my sister and me from a very early age and long after we could read to ourselves, because we loved it so much. Kathy Reel and others have already mentioned some of our favorite series: the Narnia books, the Oz books (there are at least 30 and she read them all to us!), the Beverly Clearys, the Pooh books, Lloyd Alexander's Taran series, the Melendy family books by Elizabeth Enright, and so many more. And that's without the picture books we loved when we were smaller, like Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and Ferdinand the Bull. That time with first our mother and then our father, who always sang to us after lights out, was the highlight of our evenings, My sister and I look back now and feel very lucky. Thanks for reminding me--and for the excerpt from A Killing of Innocents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Kim. Your parents really gave you and your sister a wonderful bedtime.

      Delete
  39. What a happy memory, seeing mention of Jim Trelease and his book. It was invaluable to me during my time as a preschool teacher, and in choosing books to read to young family members. I'm one of the lucky ones whose family were readers. Being the youngest, I was read to by Mom, Dad, and my brother. Storybooks, comic books, Sunday funnies, and poetry. I was reading by the time I was four, but nothing beat the joy of cuddling with and being read to by people I loved, and who loved me. I had the privilege of sitting at home with Dad as he died from lung cancer, and as ravaged as his body was, his mind and sense of humor were as sharp as ever. Five minutes before he took his last breath, he smiled at me and made a joke about one of our favorite poems, The Spider and the Fly. My most recent copy of the book is 2003's Caldecott Honor Book, marvelously illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi, which I read aloud to myself every year around Halloween.

    ~Lynda

    ReplyDelete