It is a glorious and proud parent moment when you realize that you child now reads well enough to go and read a book to himself without your help. You now have the freedom to give your child a book and walk away knowing that he can read it and you all can come back to a conversation about the story when he is finished. Game changed.

But does this mean that you never should read to your child again. Surely not! While reading to yourself is a huge skill to learn and it is important to do regularly, it should not be the end of being read to aloud. Being read aloud to is about more than someone saying the words you cannot read yourself. It is about more than a story. It is connection. It is wonder. It is getting lost together.

Read aloud time is a time of connection with your child. It is a time where you can curl up or sit around the table together and just enjoy. Time like this is something to relish. There is no reason to rush or questions to answer. Just being together and enjoying is enough. No one is working out the words and no one holds the power over the other. We are sharing what our brains are thinking because we want to, not because anyone is expected to share anything. Slowing down and just being together is best. Your relationship gains so much from being together and mutually experiencing something.

Wonder is more than a curiosity. Curiosity will hold your attention of a moment while wonder will stop you in your tracks. Books have a way of bringing that out for us since reading slows us down. We re focusing our attention on the story and not so much on the rest of the things. Sharing wonder is another way to encourage wonder and what better way to share wonder than to share something together and marvel at the way in which something is coming together. Read aloud time is a time of wonder.

Getting lost is much more fun when you share the experience with someone you love. My boys and I have found ourselves lost in New York, Narnia, in the middle of the ocean and in a tiny town in Pennsylvania to name just a few. After snuggling up with blankets and pillows on the couch or the floor we dive into our story and come out sometime later – always shocked to see so much time has passed. While falling into a book by yourself is wonderfully satisfying, how much more wonderful is it to experience along side someone else. It is like the difference of going on a once in a lifetime trip to somewhere you’ve always dreamed about alone versus taking your loved one(s) with you. Take the time to get lost together.

Our Favorite Books to Read Together
The Mysterious Benedict Society Series
The Borrowers Series
The Chronicles of Narnia Series
A Wrinkle in Time Series
Who Stealing the 12 Days of Christmas
Chasing Vermeer
Dr. Doolittle
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sideways Stories from Wayside School Series
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Series

While we will no longer read everything our child takes in together with them, we will always take the time to read aloud. Until next time, keep it smart and keep it simple.