Reading Aloud Together for the Win
It has been a year of boxes left unchecked by everyone. School, jobs, events, trips. All cancelled or left looking different from what was expected. With all of this change, it is easy to be left with a sense of dissatisfaction. Recently, something said by a friend at my book club sparked an idea for a surprisingly simple way to combat this feeling of defeat, and to claim a victory for your year.
While we sat around sharing the books we were currently reading, she proclaimed, “We read Return of the King together, just to make sure we had a win this year.” I loved that! The idea that just by finishing a great book, we could absorb rich language and have an immersive experience together! This was something the pandemic had not been able to take away.
It reminded me of why I love running. I feel like once I run, those are my miles. They are finished and no one can take them away. Once you read a book, that experience is yours. Contemplating the power of a book well-read led me to research the advantages of reading aloud to each other. It turns out, there are quite a few. In Sarah Mackenzie’s book, The Read Aloud Family, she delves into the many benefits of the read-aloud experience, among which are an elevated language and vocabulary experience you do not get from everyday conversation or most likely your favorite television show.
There is also the ability to grow what Mackenzie refers to as a “book club culture” in your home. I connected with this concept because something I try to instill in my children is being purposeful about keeping their conversations elevated to ideas, not to complaints or other people. What could be a more natural way to facilitate this, especially right now, then a shared experience getting to know characters and situations right from your living room that bond you together and offer plenty of healthy conversation material?
Another point I appreciated in the book was her explanation that when it’s broken down, the effort needed to reap the benefits of reading aloud are quite small. The author advocates for finding ways to make this experience as laid back and easy as possible. Especially being pregnant, the idea that I could accomplish something valuable with a bare minimum of effort had me all ears! A few minutes a day adds up quickly and over time you have built a beautiful investment in your children and your home. I dare you to read this book and not feel inspired to stop everything, plop down on the sofa, and read quality literature to your family.
Wilhelmina and I have been reading the Little House series together in preparation for a trip to the Little House Museum in Kansas. Little House gets mixed reviews as a read aloud, but we’ve been taking it in small bites and it’s been a pleasure. On one occasion, when my children realized how close some of these stories took place, they were led down a fabulous rabbit hole of thinking about what was built and happening right in the spot where we were sitting and reading the book during the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
In my quest for a way to “win” 2020, I might have discovered the panacea the world is looking for right now. Maybe it is simply reading aloud. For the win.