We all know how important it is to read to our children. If you don’t then you need to read Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. I just came across a wonderful interview in which Mem Fox discusses the importance of reading aloud to children and adults alike.
“Never stop reading aloud, no matter what the age group is, and read without teaching.”
In the interview, Mem Fox discusses the importance of reading aloud to kids, especially for parents. For two reason this article and Mem’s work particularly resonates with me. One, my almost five year old is this (holding fingers a few inches apart) close to reading. When we read together I want so much to get her sounding out the words… but she’s just not interested and I know I need to refrain and just read and enjoy reading together. This article reminds me that I shouldn’t try to teach my child to read.. “[parents] should never make the read-aloud into a teaching sesson.” It makes perfect sense really. We need to keep reading fun and enjoyable.
Which brings me to the next reason I’m drawn to this article which is that it reminds me that, like creativity, reading is not something that can be forced. As a parent, your share it (whether it’s reading or creating) and you model how wonderful it is to read and listen to stories or create things or whatever it is. It’s all about enjoyment and having fun. Something I think as parents we all need to be reminded of. At least I know I do.
One last point of note about this article is when Fox says “the book is a pathway to the rest of the world, to a huge conversation about what’s going on in the child’s life.” This is so true. I’m looking forward to picking up her latest book “Tell Me About Your Day Today” as a way of encouraging my daughter to reflect on her day and share it with me. Thinking back, last year, we actually spent time each night at bedtime reflecting on what we did that day, then we each chose what our favourite part of our day was. I think we need to bring back that little ritual. It’s a nice way of recapping all that we did, discussing things that need attention and each having an opportunity to show gratitude for what it was that day that we appreciated most. A really nice way to end the day!
Mem Fox also gave the Keynote at the 2012 NAEYC Annual Conference in Atlanta last week where she shared why reading to children changes their whole life journey. That’s pretty profound! I wish I was there! But, I did find notes from someone who was.