For my yearly Back-to-School post, I would like to reflect on our family’s love for out loud reading. Good strength to all in your September return to learning. God bless your studies in this new school year!
It is not enough to love good books. It is not even enough to promote literacy among our youth. For what good is literacy if our exercise of reading is confined to the private, self-contained world of silent reading. Reading, especially to children, should be an event, an out-loud occasion for bonding around a shared narrative.
In our family, this is accomplished best around picture books in which text and illustration are wedded to provide cues visual, auditory, and sometimes even kinesthetic. The best books in this category engage the eyes with stories collateral to the actual text, wordless narratives which delight by their pregnant silence. The best picture books also engage the ears with end rhymes, internal rhymes, and alliteration that even gets a two year old repeating words about which he hasn’t a clue to their actual meaning. And finally the best picture books capture the heart with an onomatopoeia that may even get them jumping around with delight. A good example of a series of picture books that contains all of these elements is Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown series. A librarian we know reported of a mother whose two-year old boy would go to sleep hugging one of these books and muttering, “smash, crash, smash, crash…”
Don’t we owe our children to inspire this heart-felt wonder at the world and love of learning? Why do we continue to think that education consists of filling in empty bubbles with a sharp #2 pencil that isn’t even in color?! Inspire your little ones this school year with an out-loud reading or two culled from the best picture books the library has to offer. We have reviewed and listed quite a few if you scroll down past the movies to the picture books category on our Best of the Best page. So turn off your screens and look up at your sucklings: They desire your voice, they look for your eyes, and their heart wishes to feast upon the movement of your loving heart.
Just like my older son when he was only three reading his favorite anthropomorphized story of a truck at work, I’m Dirty by Kate & Jim McMullan: