Friday, May 24, 2013

Reading Aloud

I don"t remember a time when reading aloud wasn't a part of my life.  When I was younger, of course, I was the one being read to.  When we were a newly wed couple, Lloyd and I took turns introducing each other to some of our favourite books by reading them aloud to each other.  From the time my children were very small, I've read aloud to them.

Right now, Bram and I are enjoying one of Lois McMaster Bujold's books, Mirror Dance.  We've read a number of her books from the same series to each other; alternating with the Sharon Lee and Steve Miller Liaden books.  I have a number of both author's books purchased as ecopies, which has the advantage that it's  impossible for Bram to read ahead, as I only have them on my computer.

When the Friesens come over, Emmet and Jane have their own particular favourites as well.  I have a paperback copy of the song "A Hunting We Will Go" in a children's book format.  Jane wanders around singing it all the time.  She also likes Green Eggs and Ham; but I think her favourite its Oh my baby, little one.  I have to admit, I really enjoy it too.

Now, I don't want you to think that we only read fiction aloud.  Last year, we read The Disappearing Spoon; which goes through the periodic table, talking about each of the elements.  We really enjoyed that one too.

There are real advantages to reading to the various age groups as well.  When reading to the little ones, like Emmet and Jane, the books are really short and it doesn't take much time to read one.  (A possible disadvantage is you get to read the same book over and over and over again, so choose your books wisely.)  An advantage to reading to older people is that you can take turns, or even say, "I'm tired of reading right now, why don't you read for a bit."

One of the real blessings of reading aloud however, is that it builds relationships.  You're sharing together.  Unlike watching TV together (something we honestly never do), when reading aloud, you can comment on what you're reading to each other, put it down at any time and pick it up again later and do it in a car (and while the driver can't read aloud, he/she can definitely enjoy it and participate)..  In addition, it allows you to introduce a book or books to someone you love, who wouldn't otherwise read it on his/her own; or to introduce a book or books that are beyond that person's reading level; or even a book that may be beyond that person's maturity level, because you can discuss and explain as needed.

What books would you recommend to read aloud, to what ages?  

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