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Reading with My Kids: A Mother’s Day Tribute

May 6, 2011

 I had originally planned this Mother’s Day post to be a round-up of mother-themed titles, and while I personally do buy a few picture books each year to give myself for Mother’s Day (my kids like to make me “art” and my husband tends to go with jewelry) I found myself thinking about mothers and reading in a broader way while writing this. Books were always one of the most important parts of my life, and I have been a passionate reader since my childhood. While my parents did their part to encourage this, through library trips, bookstore visits and modeling reading behavior themselves, I think one of the most significant things they did to foster our love of books was to read aloud to us every single night. Even when I was feeling far too old to sit through a few chapters a night, my parents still read to us. I remember making our way through Where the Red Fern Grows, Half Magic, and Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy family books when I must have been almost thirteen, piling onto my little sister’s bed and letting my mom’s voice lull me into sleepiness.

Now that I have kids of my own, I do my own bedtime reading with my kids. Since I work in publishing, I stocked their libraries with “the best” children’s books, a mix of classics and newer, well-reviewed picks. What I didn’t count on, of course, is that kids decide on their own what books they love, which in our case means we’ve read Goodnight Moon about ten thousand times, and that Disney Princess Little Golden Book Favorites has become central to my daughter’s bedtime routine. Sure, I get tired of reading the same books over and over, and there have been many times I’ve brought home picture books that I believed to be the perfect marriage of art and text, only to have my daughter reject them for completely random reasons (the cover had blue on it, she doesn’t want a story about animals, she wants to read Princess and Fairy yet again). But I wouldn’t trade those few, quiet moments of the day for anything. We curl up in a tiny twin bed, get cozy, and read. Soon my kids will know how to read on their own, and will choose the books for me, but I plan to keep our story time ritual as long as I possibly can. It’s definitely one of the sweetest parts of my day.

Wishing all of you book-loving mothers and grandmothers a Happy Mother’s Day! If you have any sweet memories of reading with your own mom or your kids that you would like to share, please do so in the comment section!

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85 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2011 10:33 am

    cool!

  2. May 6, 2011 10:47 am

    I recently found my old copy of Goodnight Moon … my children are now 8 and 11. As I started to read it aloud in the same inflections I used to use to put them to bed, both children started reciting the lines! It was amazing — I think the last time we read the book, they were 2 years old.

    The memories, it seems, do last. And the bond is certainly forever!

    Thank you for sharing this. Happy Mother’s Day to you as well… :)

    • acevibram permalink
      May 7, 2011 3:15 am

      how happy you are!I also want two children, but you know in China it is not allowed

      • May 7, 2011 9:16 am

        Acevibram,
        We forget in USA how many freedoms we have, including how many children we want. I wish you had that choice too and my heart aches for you!

      • May 7, 2011 10:37 am

        I read this was changing–not so? Best of luck to you.

      • preborn permalink
        May 7, 2011 9:48 pm

        So sad children are not valued nor even allowed in China. One per family….The Government is playing God. Here we have is disguised as “reproductive health” through an old institution called Planned Parenthood. The government here does not force women into having abortions. It is the decadent culture of a failing empire that brainwashes women into thinking motherhood is simply an inconvenience or a curse. So women is the US go and voluntarily “dispose” of the unwanted babies. Our countries are not so different. Human nature has no conscience without God first.

  3. May 6, 2011 10:51 am

    aww sweet.. my mom always read me a book before bedtime and I loved it a lot. It definitely helped me develop a reading habit as I grow up.

  4. Deanna permalink
    May 6, 2011 11:19 am

    So true about how they choose their own books! Ezra had me read the Rapunzel board book from the board book boxed set every day for 3 weeks. Somehow it’s Ruby, though, that knows it by heart and “reads” along with me. :)

  5. May 6, 2011 11:21 am

    My daughter is 9 and bedtime reading is a protected, sacred moment for us both. She enjoys reading on her own these days, but I think we both know in our hearts that the precious moments shared during these pre-sleep moments when I read to her won’t last forever. I know all about the infinite repititions of Goodnight Moon and the apparent randomness of current favorites. Although we are well into “chapter books” now, she still pulls out “Ox Cart Man” and “The Rough Faced Girl” for me to read to her from time to time. Thank you for this post and a Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  6. laura brown permalink
    May 6, 2011 11:37 am

    thanks! I cannot tell you how much I love reading with my kids, though they aren’t my very own. It feels that way just about this time of year and I truly cherish the amount of time I get to read with each child in Kindergarten, knowing that they have grown and changed so much in such a short time.

    My most precious gift as a teacher was a Mother’s Day card I received from Devon’s mom my first year teaching in Brooklyn (first grade)!! Needless to say I cried just a little. I don’t have kids of my own, but I do have nieces and nephews. Four out of five share my passion for reading. I think one had a difficult time learning at the same pace as everyone else, and it had an effect on her enjoyment. I’ve learned never to push anything and actually hold out independent reading in the library as the ultimate prize for good behavior and by December they all value it accordingly!
    thanks again
    Laura Brown
    Maple Street School
    Kindergarten Teacher
    Manchester, VT

    • May 7, 2011 9:21 am

      Laura,
      Thanks for being a teacher who is, in general, hugely undervalued in our society. I come from a long lineage of teachers and although I don’t teach in our school system, I have a tremendous respect for all you do and all the unseen ways you care and nurture children. In a way, you are like another mother and your effect will walk through life with all the children who have felt your care and devotion!

      • May 7, 2011 2:09 pm

        I love your heart for children, Laura! Wouldn’t it be lovely if all teachers and parents viewed children in the light that you so clearly do?! What a gift you must be to the children and families in your care!

  7. May 6, 2011 11:38 am

    Goodnight Moon, great book. Nice post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  8. fireandair permalink
    May 6, 2011 11:40 am

    I never recalled actually learning how to read when I was a kid. Turns out that my mom used to read to me, sitting me in her lap and reaching around me to hold a book and read out loud. Apparently, I asked her to show me the words, and she took my index finger like a pencil and pointed to the words as she read.

    And that’s apparently how, before age three, I learned how to read. She didn’t know she was doing it, and I didn’t realize it either. I just wanted to know what the words were. I was gobsmacked that there were kids in first grade who didn’t yet know how to read.

    My father’s family was convinced she was drilling me with flashcards and things because I knew how to read just before I was three. But it was just her reading with me, and me asking.

    To this day, when I’m in a book, it’s like I’ve got a blanket around me and the world gets shut out. I love that feeling.

  9. Leah permalink
    May 6, 2011 11:42 am

    What a great post for Mother’s Day! I love reading to my daughter at night as well. It’s such a nice part of the bedtime ritual. Congrats on being freshly pressed and Happy Mother’s Day!

  10. May 6, 2011 11:45 am

    You just never know what kids will want to read. I recently wrote about this as well because I am thrilled that my non-reading child has decided he loves the Alex Rider series.

  11. May 6, 2011 11:47 am

    I specially love the baby pictures you’ve put up :) Congrats on FP! My earliest memory of reading is when I was holding my book upside down and my mom listened intently to whatever story I was telling and before she left, she up-sided my little book :) <3

  12. May 6, 2011 11:48 am

    Great book list.

  13. Lacey Cole permalink
    May 6, 2011 12:31 pm

    Very sweet.

    I love to read ‘Go dogs go” and “No Roses for Harry” with my daughter. I loved those books when I was her age…I don’t seem to get sick of those.

  14. May 6, 2011 12:41 pm

    LOVE your post! Still I think you could use a few pointers from a 5 year old:

    How to Read to Your Kids Without Boring the Sh*t Out Of Them:

    http://bedtimesareforsuckers.com/2010/10/22/how-to-read-to-your-kids-without-boring-the-sht-out-of-them/

  15. May 6, 2011 1:11 pm

    Good Night Moon is one of our family favorites. We are a family of readers, and have read to our children every night since they were infants. It is such a great way to end the day, and another plus is that all 3 children love books as much as I do. Yay for being Freshly Pressed!!!

  16. May 6, 2011 1:16 pm

    Reading to your children at bedtime is one of life’s precious moments: something to treasure. Now they are older and read to themselves, I miss those moments when we snuggled down together and became enchanted with the words and pictures on the page.

  17. Jailson Rainer permalink
    May 6, 2011 1:21 pm

    sweet!

  18. thor27 permalink
    May 6, 2011 1:30 pm

    Cute kids !!! Give me a peek I added some recipes on mine at http://thor27.wordpress.com

  19. May 6, 2011 1:50 pm

    thanks for the post. my very best, most sweet memories of growing up are of my mom reading to me. i don’t think i was as repetitive a book chooser as my kids turned out to be, but maybe i was. have a very happy mother’s day!

  20. May 6, 2011 1:56 pm

    first time commenter, found you on WordPressed…congrats!

    happy mother’s day to you too. would be great if you could do a post on well reviewed books for kids. mine are 7 and 4 and i always have a hard time getting them the right books. ofcourse have had to re-read the favorites a gazillion times:-)

  21. May 6, 2011 1:58 pm

    sorry, meant ‘freshly pressed’!

  22. May 6, 2011 2:39 pm

    No matter how little money my mom had, she never denied her kids books! She loved reading to us, watching us read, and encouraging us to read to each other. When we got older, she encouraged our daily trips to the library . . . until, that is, she implored us to watch a little TV for a little “roundedness.”

    It didn’t take. I don’t think she really minded.

    Now, I read to my 19-month-old son every day. It used to be I’d read for just a few minutes at a time, but he gradually started coming to me with books throughout the day. Now we read for as much as an hour a day together some days. Even when he’s not reading with me, he’s exploring the books and ferrying them between different points in the house, including his book tub.

    In the moments we share with books, I feel my mom. I’d love to feel her again, but this sweet connection isn’t anything to scoff at!

    Thanks for the smiles. Happy Mother’s Day!

  23. May 6, 2011 4:53 pm

    beautiful pictures :)

  24. May 6, 2011 6:00 pm

    You must be a good mother, thanks God. nice share. :)

  25. May 6, 2011 8:02 pm

    I was often read the Princess Disney books… my favorite. Have a great weekend!

  26. May 6, 2011 8:15 pm

    nice!

  27. May 6, 2011 10:01 pm

    I encourage my daughter who is 9yrs to read Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton etc. She also loves to read together:)

  28. May 7, 2011 12:57 am

    When I was younger, my mom would always read me stories out of Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories or of great people, like Martin Luther King Jr. I loved those moments. I tip my hat to you. Happy Mothers Day. :)

  29. May 7, 2011 1:02 am

    What a sound and enlightening blog. I like the idea keeping old traditions alive. One day your children will do the same to their children.

  30. May 7, 2011 1:25 am

    happy mothers day to all!
    website designer in delhi

  31. May 7, 2011 2:30 am

    It’s interesting how kids will choose their favorites on their own as young as 4-5 months old. I have tried to get my children to fall in love with Richard Scarry and my favorite Little Golden Books, but only a few have stuck (like The Little Red Hen, thankfully!). I had lots of time with my daughter in the first year to read every night to her, but unfortunately for my son (born sixteen months after my daughter), he is rarely read to and doesn’t seem to share the same degree of passion for books as my daughter had at his age (a year old). We are going to have to correct this with a lot more storytime for him! My favorite memories from childhood with my mother are of when we would all get into bed together and read the Laura Ingalls series together :-)

  32. May 7, 2011 3:28 am

    They will be reading to you all too soon. Sometimes is is a chore forced on them by school but if they love a book you can always fall asleep whilst reading to them as I have done and then they have to read on their own. The first book my son ‘read’ was his Dad’s 70′s version of the Owl and the Pussy Cat – it was all from memory but he turned the pages at the right time.

    Now, at the age of nine, he has read the whole Harry Potter series. We also read together the Swallows and Amazon series that I loved as a child. I started by persuading him to read the odd line or paragraph and now he can read them on his own which is great. I am not so keen on the Famous Five books so he has to read these himself now.

    I have recently started reading him easy adult books so we will continue to read together.

  33. May 7, 2011 5:27 am

    congrats not just for being freshly pressed but also for being a great mom. I read my son children books that either he would pick or I would choose for him every 2 weeks at our local library. I read him Hooray for Fish the other night and he loved it. thanks for sharing.

  34. May 7, 2011 7:38 am

    I too love reading to my daughter at bedtime. It’s the one time we can count on quiet family time with mom, dad and child together. Now she’s getting old enough that she wants to “read” to us. Mostly she has certain books memorized, but it’s a treat to hear her read and copy our inflection and even facial expression as she shares her stories with us.

    It is sad to see some beautifully illustrated and wonderfully told stories rejected outright for yet another night of Hop on Pop, bu t one day she’ll discover those other stories as well, and she may have the joy of reading them for herself when she does.

    I have been reading her bedtime stories since she was an infant, and I wouldn’t trade this time for the world. I hope she loves it as much as I do.

  35. May 7, 2011 9:28 am

    My parents read to us only until we were old enough to read ourselves, but they modeled it in great quantities. To this day, I prefer reading over TV and if I’m driving enough distance I like to listen to audiobooks. Last weekend while on a trip I listened to Toni Morrision’s “A Mercy” and the power of it being read by the author combined with her lyrical, haunting writing was immense. It’s like I was infused with the lyrical phrases and became different, somehow. I choose my books carefully because of this… my third grade teacher told us at the beginning of the school year “Remember that reading a book can change your life.” I believe that!

  36. May 7, 2011 10:43 am

    the cover had blue on it

    Too true! Thanks for this sweet piece. My daughter is 4, and the bedtime ritual belongs to my wife. This works out well because I tend to fall asleep in her bed if I do it, and I do mornings and breakfast together instead. But it means that I need to get my precious reading time with her in at other times (and hey, reading is for any time of day as far as I’m concerned). I listen in on bedtime from the next room and I love to hear the munchkin “reading” One Fish, Two Fish aloud–she knows it just about by heart.

  37. May 7, 2011 11:49 am

    My mother is the reason that I got into reading & writing. Some of my fondest memories are of us reading the same book then talking about it. She is no longer on this earth but every time I read a good book or write something particularly well I think of her.

  38. lifereconnected permalink
    May 7, 2011 1:44 pm

    It took me a while to twig why there were all these Mother’s Day posts -here in the UK ours was on April 3rd ! I have such great memories of reading to my children. One of our favourites was ’5 Minutes Peace!’ about an elephant family – Mrs Large took herself off to the bath to get 5mins peace from her little ones only to be interrupted by the youngest insisting she read to them in the bath! Only this year my youngest now aged 21 gave me a card with a photo of a woman sitting in a bath in a field reading a book. She signed it – hope you get your 5 minutes peace! She still remembers it after all these years. Sweet. Great post and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  39. paisleyandplaid permalink
    May 7, 2011 1:48 pm

    Yes, by all means read to and then with your kids — never too early. As an AP English teacher I could always tell the readers from those who never read on their own. Made a difference in their writing, too.

  40. May 7, 2011 2:15 pm

    My kids have loved The Hobbit, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Scuffy the Tugboat, Harold and the Purple Crayon (I remember having to read that one ad nauseum!), I Love You Forever, all of Roald Dahl’s books, the Narnia Chronicles, Encyclopedia Brown, Junie B. Jones, the My Father’s Dragon trilogy and the No David! books. I’m a passionate reader who delights in this kind of talk! We, too, have held out extra reading time as a privilege and all four of our children love to read. I can only hope the two things are related.

  41. May 7, 2011 3:52 pm

    I have boys, so my favorites are from a male perspective. The Bronze Bow, and anything by Henty or Alger were always favorites. Also Man in Bearskin. Can’t wait to read them to grandchildren. (Well, yeah, I can wait to be a grandma, but I will LOVE reading to grandkids!) Great article! Thanks for sharing.

    Here’s something I put together you might enjoy reading this weekend. http://cathyhowie.wordpress.com/

  42. Eva McCane permalink
    May 7, 2011 4:05 pm

    my son loves having books read to him…it’s one of our favorite things to do together!

  43. Alive aLwaYs permalink
    May 7, 2011 4:13 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day.
    You are certainly doing your part well.
    I occasionally write poems, so I dedicated the recent one to my mother. Happy Mother’s day again!!!

  44. May 7, 2011 6:41 pm

    Is there anything better in the world than curling up with a child or grandchild and reading a book together? Nothing. Nothing at all. Happy Mothers Day and congrats on FP.

  45. May 7, 2011 7:31 pm

    i loved reading this post, and all the comments that came after! I am a great advocate of the therapeutic effect of reading bedtime stories, and their effect on not just children’s bedtime routines and sleeping patterns, but also the relationships that are strengthened in the process, and of course the interest in books that is stimulated!

    I am a mature student, mother of two, and as well as working in the field of personal development/Holistic Therapies and Training, i am also training to be a children’s illustrator/author, and in October will begin my final year at University where my dissertation is actually based on this subject ‘ the effect of the bedtime story routine and the impact of the new types of technology that seem to be replacing it’ (such as pc’s, gaming, IPad stories etc……..

    So, if anyone has any information,or research that they feel may help me, i would be really really grateful.
    thanks
    Helen (monkeymoo12345pdp@wordpress.com)

  46. May 7, 2011 9:01 pm

    Waaait… when was mother’s day?

  47. May 7, 2011 11:49 pm

    I love sharing all of my favorite books with my daughter!

  48. May 8, 2011 12:42 am

    welcome to our website (Lttsy)
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  49. liuwenxian1981 permalink
    May 8, 2011 5:50 am

    I am a guy from China, and this is the first time for me to give my comment on a blog which located in abroad. I am too young to have a baby, and I even still single, but I can completely feel the happiness you get after reading your blog. So warm.

  50. May 8, 2011 6:30 am

    Cool.. i like it :)

  51. May 8, 2011 8:13 am

    thats great writing. congrats!

  52. May 8, 2011 10:26 am

    On family vacations, I would round up all the kids after dinner for story time. My son and one of my nieces sat on my lap while I read picture book after picture book. At home, I read to my son every night. He especially loved the voices I gave to the Berenstain bears, Goofy, and Cookie Monster.

  53. J.F.Kipling permalink
    May 8, 2011 11:34 am

    Great post!!!
    I too read to my daughter who is now 11 and has decided she doesnt need me reading to her anymore at night because she can read on her own and does, so I respect that independence of her’s. Really it is amazing what she brings home from the library, books you would not expect an 11 year old to be interested in reading, though she tends to really enjoy ghost story books in the fiction section. In our school system the school places high value on reading which I feel every school should, my daughter reads at a ninth grade reading level and she is in fifth grade(I like to think it is because of the reading at night we did with her) I am currently in the midst of writing a children’s book myself and the one and only reason I am able to be doing this is because I was read to as a child, which instilled such a great passion for books.
    Reading to our children does so much for both our children and for us parents from bonding to educating to fueling the next generation of Authors.
    Sorry this reply is so long I really enjoyed reading this post from you
    Happy Mother’s Day !!!

  54. May 8, 2011 12:14 pm

    My mum used to read to us (me and my brother) when we were kids and I try to this every night with my kids (6 and 2) and it is truly a joy..
    That time when it is just you and your kids and a world of magic.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed and thank you for a wonderful post

  55. thor27 permalink
    May 8, 2011 1:09 pm

    Happy Mothers Day to all the mamas out there !!!

  56. May 8, 2011 2:08 pm

    I hope u 2 had a fantastic Mother’s day! This brought memories back 2 me! Today my son is a 21 year old final year student, he grew up with books, when he was 15 months he could say some pieces of book back to me…turned the pages of the books where I did…people who saw that, couldn’t believe that..He loved his book, and I loved reading to him..Thank you for a blog who put a smile to my face!! xx

  57. thor27 permalink
    May 8, 2011 2:37 pm

    Check out todays blog. http://thor27.wordpress.com

  58. May 8, 2011 5:01 pm

    Well done! Great Mother’s Day post.

  59. May 8, 2011 10:56 pm

    I love this, your post brought back some lovely childhood memories of my before-bed reading routine. Happy Mother’s Day!

  60. May 9, 2011 12:44 am

    welcome to our website (Lttsy)
    c o m..The new update, a large hot ..
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  61. May 9, 2011 1:58 am

    I LOVE reading with my kids. The youngest, who just turned one, brought me a book today, sat down on my lap and jigged around with excitement while I showed him pages of baby animals! So cute.
    I have no idea what is so wonderfully nourishing about reading with chidren (any children), but I still remember my dad reading Winnie The Pooh and doing silly voices for each character. So simple and so joyful!

  62. May 9, 2011 4:36 am

    So sweet….

  63. May 9, 2011 6:25 am

    Reading with kids is not only cool but also kids learn to love books as well as having a quality life with mommy. Cool Mothers’ Day post and keep it up.

  64. May 9, 2011 7:03 am

    Such cute kids, good post.

  65. May 9, 2011 9:07 pm

    I loved to read as does my mother (who read to me, read near me and passed on favorites to me). As for my own? I figured as long as they WERE reading or willing to let me read to them, I’d go with whatever they wanted. Had a lot of “Goodnight Moon,” “Hop on Pop,” and “Mike the Steam Shovel” time when they were little … followed by Pokemon and Ninja Turtles as they got older… but I wouldn’t trade those snuggly, cozy moments for any other.

    wonderful post — cheers! MJ

  66. May 10, 2011 2:46 am

    The power of reading to children! I did it for years with mine, silly voices and all, and both are bookworms like me. My daughter added a comment to this post, about the continuation of the family tradition with my grandson. Long may it continue.

  67. dreamxingdong permalink
    May 11, 2011 11:17 pm

    Great book list.
    <a href=”http://www.p90x-dvd-workout.com”>p90x home fitness </a>

  68. May 12, 2011 8:29 pm

    I loved reading this post. It reminds me a lot of my relationships with both my own daughter and my parents. I remember the summer before I started high school, my stepmother and I were still taking turns reading out loud. We spent the thirty minute drive to soccer try-outs reading the different chapter books on my summer reading list. To this day, one of the things I love most, is sitting and talking books with her. I hoe to share the same love with my daughter even through her adult years.

    http://MeghannChapman.com

  69. May 25, 2011 11:48 pm

    So true about how they choose their own books! Ezra had me read the Rapunzel board book from the board book boxed set every day for 3 weeks. Somehow it’s Ruby, though, that knows it by heart and “reads” along with me.

  70. May 26, 2011 6:17 am

    On family vacations, I would round up all the kids after dinner for story time. My son and one of my nieces sat on my lap while I read picture book after picture book. At home, I read to my son every night. He especially loved the voices I gave to the Berenstain bears, Goofy, and Cookie Monster.

  71. June 21, 2011 4:03 am

    Thanks for sharing content to read.I’m happy to read it

Trackbacks

  1. Bits and Pieces…and Croissants « Such Small Steps
  2. A Mother’s Day Blog! « Chronicles of the Unsaid
  3. Catching Up New Readers: Popular Posts and a Little About Us « Random Acts of Reading
  4. For the Amazing Women in My Life « Such Small Steps
  5. Pictures of parents reading to children
  6. 2011: A Blogging Year in Review « Random Acts of Reading

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