Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reading Aloud: A Ritual for Children of All Ages

As I watch my school prepare for its annual book fair next week, and I prepare to co-present a workshop on the importance of reading aloud in Montessori classrooms, I've wondered why my own nightly ritual of reading aloud to my (now teenage) sons stopped.

This summer, I read The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma. Alice writes of the Reading Promise made with her father when she was nine years old. This promise, to read every night for 100 days, became the Reading Streak ending at day 3,218 which was Alice’s first day in college. Once again, I wondered why I let the ritual of reading aloud to my children fade away.

The book clearly highlights the educational benefits of reading aloud with your child even into the teen years. However, it also brings to light something equally as profound; the importance of rituals in creating strong relationships with our children. Not only was Alice developing a deep personal relationship with her father, Jim Brozina; he was demonstrating his confidence in her by supporting her growing independence.

In the forward, Brozina writes,

“If a child sees something in a parent that that child aspires to, he or she will copy that parent and be content. If children feel that a parent is living a life that shows compassion and understanding, patience and love, that child will not have to reach a stage of rebellion against that parent... A parent who has proven time and again that the growth and happiness of his or her children is priority number one does not have to worry about where those children are heading in life. They will be sensitive and productive members of society for as long as they live. This story is by and about one such girl.”

Recommended reading:

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