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READ ALOUD.

Why the shouty caps?

I can’t EMPHASIZE how important this activity is to do with your child of any age.

I am reading aloud again to my five children: my 22 year old, my 16 year old, my 14 year old, my 12 year old, and my 10 year old.

We are on Chapter 3 of Winnie-the-Pooh…my eldest told us the next day that as she fell asleep to the chapter, all she heard was “Pooh was trailing behind.” This was met with her brother dying of laughter. Eyeroll. They never really do grow up. It’s strange reading to them again all together. It’s magical. It’s not that I want to hold on to it Our favourite collective stories have been “A Wrinkle in Time,” “My Father’s Dragon,” “The Hobbit” and “The Penderwicks” (ALL The Penderwick books).

Yesterday I was reading a book and came across a great passage. I gasped and my daughter was sitting next to me. She asked me to read aloud the passage that made me gasp. I read it to her as she lay beside me on the couch. It was from The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl. She writes:

I already know (or believe—which comes to the same thing in my Catholic worldview) that daydreaming doesn’t make things up. It sees things. Claims things, twirls them around, takes a good look. Possesses them. Embraces them.Makes something of them. Makes sense. Or music. How restful it is, how full of motion. My first paradox.

I can see that I have lost her in a daydream as I read the last sentence. Sometimes they want me to read from by books or my Book of Hours – quotes that serve as snapshots of my life.

When I read to them, they each make a different face. Some gaze off. Some look at me in anticipation of the next thing in the story. Some fall asleep to “Pooh was trailing behind.”

There is something that happens when I read to them. The sound of my voice provides a rhythmic container that they can get cozy in. Or maybe it’s the ritual of this reading aloud that we can always come back to no matter what happens around us. It was the one thing I did when we moved into our home in the pouring rain without running water or electricity. I lit the candle every night, in the bedroom we all had to share and I read to them.

Sometimes I am tired and they still need the chapter read. I read slowly word by word until I myself am entranced by the cadence of the dialogue or the description of the place. My heart beat and my breath naturally match the flow. As I finish the chapter, and before they ask for another, I let them float away to their beds quietly ready to enter the dream world with these wonderful images told through a voice that will love them forever.

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