My children love books. I indulge this passion in them because I am a firm believer that reading is more than a hobby; it's a life skill and a gateway to creativity and a magical journey into whatever fantasy is waiting in those pages. Growing up, I was the kid who sneaked books to school and hid in my room reading while others were out playing.
So you might be surprised to learn that I really hate reading aloud. I know it's important to read with your children to stimulate their little brains and model a love of books... but I get breathless and yawny and bored. With Javier, I suffered through until he was old enough to read on his own. Then I laid beside him in his bed while he read aloud to both of us. We recently read The Lightning Thief this way (one chapter each night) and all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books before that.

But with Bella I've taken a different approach. I retire to her room with a stack of books and her big brother. We all lounge around on the floor and listen to Javi read through that stack. This routine improves his reading and enunciation skills while also stimulating Bella's imagination and giving us a special night-time ritual.
One day he'll be too old to read with us at night, but I hope that day is far away. When it does arrive, she'll be reading on her own and I'll curl up with my sweet girl while we read whatever books are popular for her age at the time. I'll watch her face as something surprising or scary happens and smile softly when she sounds out a difficult word.

Reading aloud to your children is a wonderful gift; however, it's not the only gift you can offer. You might be surprised by how much your older children benefit from being the ones turning the written word into an auditory experience.

(This night, we read Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Gallop, Goodnight, Moon, and And Here's To You.)

**This post is part of the 30-Minute Blog Challenge, Works for Me Wednesday, and Wordful Wednesday.**


  • Anonymous

    I love reading to Avery! She is squirmy sometimes and doesn't enjoy it as much as I do but she will someday! Oh, and it's called Century Gothic. Your header and main links. LOVES IT.

  • Sarah

    Jamis is currently reading the Lightning Thief and LOVING IT. I thought nothing would hold his attention like Harry Potter, but I was wrong.

    After reading the first chapter together (just so I could see what it was about) he asked, as always, "can I read the rest myself?"

    Yes, son. Mr. Independent One. You can.

    But I have nothing to complain about. My son is a reader and I am so very very proud. Books are just COOOOOL.

  • Cheri

    I read to all my kids as they were growing up. I now have one avid reader in college and two in high school who HATE reading. How did that happen? I was also a child who would rather read than play outside, so I just don't "get" my younger two.

  • Janine

    All three of my girls love to read, (thank God)...I also agree that it is mega important. My oldest (12) has read Pride and Prejudice like 8 or 9 times already...it's her fave...also Inkheart. My middle isn't as avid a reader, but still enjoys it, and my youngest has just recently gotten really into reading on her own. I'm the same way with reading to them...yawn...can't help it! I'm right there with ya sister!

  • Rieshy

    For our home school I have the older kids do some of the read alouds to their siblings for me. For many of the same reasons you mentioned.
    It works well for us too.

  • Katie Jones

    I wish I had an older kid to split the reading! I love to read out loud - but I do it all ... day ... long. I love to read just to myself, too ... my parents had to ground me from reading when I got in trouble because it was my favorite thing to do and the only punishment that bothered me! :)

  • Kelly Miller

    Of course because I shared this, today Javi decided to rebel and begged to read quietly in his room (he earned The Sea of Monsters today) so I did the reading on my own tonight. Lo and behold, Ms. Bella wanted to read out loud to me and kept telling me to shh!

  • amber_mtmc

    You make me smile. Yes, reading out loud is somewhat tiring.

    I LOVE Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My mom bought it for my brother (who has Aspergers) and I read it while I was there for Christmas. I am definitely buying it for ALL my kids.

  • The Drama Mama

    I love the reading rituals. My daughter loves the Wimpy Kid books too, and is eagerly collecting them all. She is in to the lightning thief series as well. As for Scooby, he regularly asks for "Rawr" (Where the Wild Things Are) "no no" (No by David Shannon) and "I Baby" (Love You Forever). I do like to mix it up though since the same old books every night can get oh so boring and Yawn...snore. ;)

  • Cecily R

    I am SO with you on the reading isn't just a hobby idea.

    I say whatever your ritual, if reading and being together is a part of it, you are giving a marvelous gift to your kids!

    Great pics!

  • TKW

    I love And Here's to You! It does get boring...especially when they have a favorite that they insist that you read over and over (Mr. Brown Can Moo....ugh).

  • Kelly Miller

    @TKW - And Here's To You has been a family favorite for four years or so. I think Javi got it when he was five. We still love it.

    @Cecily - I definitely think the ritual is as important as the actual reading. Well, I mean, as long as they're reading and I'm encouraging them to read, it's gonna be fine.

    @TDM - I love when the little ones come up with their own names for their favorite books. Bella calls books by their protagonist. 8 Little Monkeys is "dem monkeys" and any of her 5 million Dora books are simly "dat Dora book" and then I have to furiously figure out which book she's talking about.

  • CanCan

    YOu should be proud of that, Mama!

  • ohAmanda

    My 4yo already loves to read to her 1yo brother. OF course, she's usually just quoting it but its sitll cute!

  • se7en

    I don't mind reading aloud to my kids but there is nothing on this earth more cathartic than a child learning to read and stumbling through their first readers - as they start I fall asleep. EVERYTIME!!! I am on my fifth kid learning to read and I have yet to stay awake through an easy reader - just can't do it!!!

  • Brenda

    Hey Kelly, it's Brenda/MummyTime. I saw your comment and profile on my site and wanted to stop by and say thanks for the lurve.

    ...And I'm with you on the Reading out loud to our kids. It's way more fun that way! Although my 6yo daughter don't really like it anymore when I do "voices."=)

  • Cheryl

    As a reading teacher, this warms my heart. What a wonderful memory Bella will have of her big brother reading to her.

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