My son sits reading “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, one of my personal favorite books. He’s eight years old and now reads on the fourth grade level and so fast it hinders him to read out-loud. I glance over and the page says:
Some of Wilbur’s friends worried for fear all this attention would go to his head and make him stuck up. But it never did. Wilbur was modest; fame did not spoil him. He still worried about the future, as he could hardly believe that a mere spider would be able to save his life.
It brought back memories, memories of myself sitting by my grandmother’s fireplace in the house on the farm back in Loudonville, Ohio – on a winter day as the snow beat against the bay window in her living room. The pine floors and the pine ceiling surrounding me with the green and white paisley wallpaper and the silence of the farm. My grandmother always read to me and later showed me how to read simple books like “Dick and Jane” or “The Very Hungry Caterpillar“. My very favorite book; “The best nest” by P.D. Eastman still has a very fond shelf in my memory. However, it’s not the incredible illustrations or the cute story that makes this book my favorite… it’s the fact that my grandmother, someone who was very dear to me read it to me. I can still hear her voice in my head as she sang the tune that the birds used to sing in the book. It wasn’t a written tune, but one she had made up:
I love my house. I love my nest. In all the world, this nest is best.
It’s a bittersweet memory, given the fact that she passed away when I was 14. But, it brings warmth to hear that voice in my head, singing that song after twenty six years.
The Critical Bond
Teaching your children to read is a very, very important skill, but reading to your children is even more important. It builds memories and it creates a foundation for them that they will never forget.
Take time to read to your children and your grandchildren, because you never know if it might be the memory that survives, decades after your gone.
The Worlds that it Opens Up
I am now a writer and an author myself. I wonder often if my grandmother had not helped to build that foundation, would I still have this desire to write and to create worlds. Perhaps I would, but it’s so much richer having had her help me learn to read and spending the time to read to me.
Teaching your children to read helps them realize a world beyond their own. Helps them discover places that could never exist, people that are only imaginary and also it helps them learn about our past.
My eight year old son has a personal goal – Read at least one a day. He’s been known to stay up “too late” to do so, but I’m proud of him none the less.