The Sunday Salon: The Promise of Reading

Imprinted on my mind and heart is a picture of my grandson Connor and his mommy, lying side by side on the quilted floor of his colorful play area this morning while she reads story after story and he waves his tiny arms and legs in pure delight. He studies each picture with a solemn concentration uncommon to six month old babies and already recognizes favorite phrases from the most oft-repeated books.

He seems to be a natural born book lover, and while I’d like to take some of the genetic credit, it really doesn’t matter where the love of story comes from. What matters is that his parents are bright enough to recognize it and take full advantage of it.

Because, of course, reading together is about much more than just one particular story. It’s about sharing imagination and experience, about finding pathways to new information and ideas, about creating a bond with someone you love.

Fresh from watching Connor’s morning story time, I find Beth Kephart’s reflections on Alice Ozma’s book about this very experience. The Reading Promise; My Father and the Books We Shared is, according to Ozma, “about the act of reading and the time spent doing it. The books are important but the conversations they started and the bonds they created are what really matter.”

And so in a world where children are over scheduled, under loved, bombarded with noise and flash, Ozma extolls the power of sharing what Beth Kephart calls, “time spent kindly together.”

It’s a gift I wish every child could have, in every place and every nation. I believe the world would be a kinder and more thoughtful place if they did.

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9 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: The Promise of Reading

  1. Although not a reading memory this brings to mind something I saw at a major art exhibition a few years ago where a young French mom had her baby of about six months with her in a sling facing out so he could see the paintings and was talking to him about the colours and the shapes. I thought it was wonderful. What a marvellous start in life both he and your grandchild are getting.

  2. Oh, Becca! I saw the title of your post and did not even imagine you would be quoting me here—only came on to visit (vicariously) with you and your grandson.

    I am sending you love today.

  3. Oh, I agree it is so important. I am so happy that all our close friends who have children have made a point of reading to them daily. I have felt truly privileged on the couple of occasions I have been there and seen the delight on the face of a baby who has not yet learned to walk or talk but can clearly enjoy storytelling.

  4. I do think reading to little ones has become more prevalent among the younger generation…that is definitely a good thing!

  5. We read to our children when they were younger. I keep meaning to do more of it with them now when they are a little older, because you are so right, it’s together time that is so precious. i like that idea of creating a time that’s just between reader and listener, so much is given and understood then. Lovely post, Becca!

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