Children are Made Readers on the Laps of Their Parents

One of my fondest memories of childhood is the tradition we had in our house Christmas Eve, when my dad would put my brother and me on his lap and read the classic “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.

The story is a favorite for many children and adults alike.  It weaves itself in our minds and hearts, and gives us a clear vision for all those fantasies about the magic of Santa Claus.  It is a great story.

But I remember that story more because of the manner in which it was told than for the story itself.  It was a story my brother and I looked forward to every year.  It was an exciting moment that Christmas Day was soon upon us.  It was a special treat because of the way my parents presented it.  My mom and dad both made a big deal out of it being story time.  It was a treat to be close with them both and share in the magic.  Being a parent now, I imagine it was a special treat for them as well.

Some of my fondest memories as a father are having my girls in my lap, listening to a story I read.  I enjoyed making different voices for different characters, and making sure I was animated when the book was full of action.  The girls loved it, and so did I.

It’s a tradition I know my girls will continue when the time comes and they have children of their own.  I’m even looking forward to a chance to sit grand-kids down and tell them a story or two.  The tradition is an art.  It takes patience and skill to master.  Kids can be a little squirmy.  But the tradition and the art of keeping that tradition are worth the effort…and then some.

3 responses to “Children are Made Readers on the Laps of Their Parents

  1. Oh it is so totally worth the effort! I’m with you, some of my fondest memories as a mom are of snuggling close with my kids and reading to them, and later, having them read to me. It warmed my heart when Catherine mentioned that as one of her special memories of me in her poem she wrote for school, remembering snuggling with me and listening to me read to her.

    Not only is sitting together and reading a wonderful bonding time for parent and child, but just like the quote at the top of your post says, reading to children instills a lifelong love of reading in them. Reading is one of the very best things parents can do with their young children; it increases their attention spans, broadens their vocabularies, and helps them learn to make predictions and draw conclusions, skills that will be very necessary when they enter school. Even infants and young toddlers that won’t necessarily understand the words can benefit just from hearing the cadence of the language.

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