I have heard the term ‘Read Aloud Revival’ being bandied about on social media recently and it truly thrills me! It simply means that lots of parents are making a concerted effort to read aloud to their children, usually well beyond the age when they are able to read for themselves. It is exactly what I want to do with Jacob as he grows up. There is something very connecting about sharing a story out loud somewhere cosy, discussing the characters and wondering what will happen next. I think it gives you a window into your child’s thoughts that you might not otherwise have access to and it shapes their little imaginations in ways we cannot see.
I love the C.S. Lewis quote above because it perfectly pinpoints a problem that I had been trying to identify recently. I found that I hated the language and the illustrations of some of the children’s books that we checked out of the library and as a result I found the read aloud experience quite excruciating. C.S. Lewis is exactly right – a good children’s book should appeal to the adult as well as the child so now I am much more picky. Jacob has milk three times a day now at 7am, 2.30pm and 7pm and I love to use those quiet moments to read to him. In the mornings we read a lot of lift the flap books and rhyming stories like Each Peach Pear Plum and The Gruffalo. During his afternoon feed I tend to read just one book that is written for slightly older children so that he can hear more intricate language. We have been working our way through the beautiful Brambly Hedge books and I absolutely adore the illustrations – it really is a pleasure for me too! At night we read anything we fancy from his bookshelf before he goes to sleep. I can’t wait to read classics like the Narnia series, The Lord of the Rings, and the Little House series as he gets bigger.
2016 has been referred to as the “year of the podcast” and I have a great one for you on this very subject of reading aloud. Sarah Mackenzie first coined the phrase ‘Read Aloud Revival’ and has interviewed a whole host of fascinating people on the subject of reading aloud with children in her podcast (you need to scroll down to find them!) I have been really inspired by these podcasts with titles such as “Reading Aloud with lots of Littles Underfoot” and “How Illustrations Nourish the Imagination”. I hope they will be of interest to you too and we can all do our bit to resurrect the lost art of reading aloud. I wish you many hours of happy reading!