I will admit to thinking that there wouldn’t be much for me in this chapter because I’m not really into drama. I was in a couple of plays when I was in school, and it was fun, but I wouldn’t want a career in it.
I was pleasantly surprised (and it shows how long it’s been since I read this book) that the entire chapter was about reading aloud together as a family! Now that IS something that I am into. I grew up with my dad reading to my sisters and I, and now I’m reading to my children.
A good reading involves drama – different voices (which I’m not good at), voice inflections and good pauses. I’ll let you in on a family secret: My husband often reads in a monotone which our children find absolutely hilarious. His dramatic abilities run in the line of being able to do perfect imitations of people which our children also find hilarious.
The whole chapter is basically Mrs. Schaeffer’s praise of family reading. She gives so many suggestions of books to read at various ages, but she also speaks about little ones listening to their older siblings read-alouds and how it expands their minds and how older children don’t mind re-reading beloved story books with their younger siblings. Truly reading is ageless.
It’s a wonderful way to share time together as a family. It also teaches loyalty and honesty – no one reading ahead in the current book! It’s also inexpensive as far as family activities go. Here are her thoughts on family reading:
People ask, “What is your advice about bringing up children? What did you do as a family?” If there is any one thing I would stress as an answer it would be this: “I read aloud to the children, both individually and together.” Reading together is one of the most important factors in a growing family relationship. Reading aloud is a kind of ‘core’ for the unity of a family.
Mrs. Schaeffer also speaks to the fact that this can be a denial of oneself. As mothers we have to give up some of our time to read to our children, but we shouldn’t see it as a sacrifice but as a deepening of our relationship with our children. The relationships we establish by reading to our little ones from the time when their almost too little to understand will stand us in good stead when our children are teenagers and in need of good relationships in their family.
She delineates four kinds to books (this was the way I was brought up to think too):
- fairy stories – total make-believe and fun to think about but not true
- could-be-true stories – fiction that reads like real life
- true stories – biographies and memoirs – so good to read how other people deal with living
- The Bible – a book capable of meeting any need we have
She ends the chapter by talking about the importance of reading the Bible together as a family and praying together. Truly there is no better way to build a strong family.
So, this begs the question: What are you reading to your children right now?
While preparing this post I came across this poem:
The Reading Mother by Strickland Gillilan
I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings–
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I had a Mother who read to me.
Does your family read together?