My friend and fellow blogger over at Vintage Girls pointed me to this beautiful little article in one of the NYTimes Blogs that indicates that reading story books together at bedtime is not just for kids an more! In fact, studies are showing that much of the value of books at bed is not only about fostering literacy but also about cementing the bond between family members. Some parents interviewed for the article felt that story time was actually more for them than for the child! One parent in the article was reported as saying:
‘I need that 30 minutes of reading,
Recent ideas about reading have led us to think of it as a private experience but, actually, this concept is very new. In past centuries, reading was often a family or group activity that created connections between communities. During the Victorian era, it was not uncommon for only one family member to be able to read and for that individual to sit with the entire family after dinner to share the latest in a series of installments in the newspaper. (Dickens stories were very often read this way each week!) Monasteries, cafes, and town halls are all places where groups of people have historically gathered together to discuss new ideas and to read both ancient and contemporary tales.
This social aspect of reading is one that we would have almost completely forgotten if it were not for our children who take the opportunity to remind us of it every night at bed time. I know for a fact that reading Captain Underpants brought my friend Christa an enormous amount of joy and genuine shared laughter with her daughter. Once, while reading Frederick with my children I was brought to tears by the poetry ... so much so that I struggled to complete the tale. My Little Reader was curious to know why mama was crying. What an interesting revelation it was to her that the words themselves had moved me to tears. There is no better way to communicate to our children the power of books than to have an emotionally moving reading experience with them.
So, the next time you are reading a book with your little one and you pause to let him supply the animal noise or the rhyming word know that you are doing so much more than simply encouraging his reading skills. You are sharing ideas, connecting over illustrations and bringing your relationship to the next level.