How Reading Aloud Instills a Love of Books

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Hearing mostly Sonlight titles as a child gave me the impression that only great books were published. But after experiencing the wasteland of public high school literature, it no longer surprises me when a student from that world tells me they hate books. It's sad, but I understand. I struggled with reading for years so tossing pathetic titles on top of that would have been miserable.

One of my college-aged friends, a beautiful and intelligent young lady, has dyslexia. She shared that she thinks books are bad. She loves stories, but books house too much personal pain to make it worth wrestling the story from them. So she was more than a little distrustful when my wife suggested I read a story aloud while they worked on their Ren Faire costumes.

It took three chapters--two more than I had hoped--before she was begging that we keep reading. My wife beamed at her: "See, this is what the book experience should be!"

As we neared the end of the story, my friend hugged herself from sheer excitement. She uttered little gasps of joy as she guessed what was about to happen. I could hardly keep reading it was so much fun watching her fall in love with the book <smile>.

I fully understand how reading can be difficult. But even with my prolonged struggle with the mechanics of reading, I never disliked books. I loved books. I loved books because my mom and dad read great books to me. I learned, for an early age, that books contain stories and worlds and characters and situations to be contemplated and treasured.

My friend was held back by an arbitrary required proficiency that killed her love of books. She didn't have the opportunity to hear great stories as part of her school. But because my siblings and I grew up listening to my parents read aloud, we were given a love for books; both those who read early and those of us who struggled.

Hearing and reading great literature does more than merely give you a love for books. It also awakens your child's natural passion for learning. So I'll echo the request so often heard when we reach the end of a chapter:

Keep reading!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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5 Comments

  1. Sue Stuever Battel

    Amen! A friend recently lamented that her child disliked a classic book. Turns out her classroom teacher had them read an excerpt instead of the whole book. No wonder! I grew up thinking I hated literature because of approaches like that. Thank God for Sonlight, which exposes my kids to excellent, real, whole books!

  2. Naomi Johnson

    YES!! Yesterday we went for a drive and were exploring a town we hadn't been in before. Guess what was the ONLY shop the kids were keen to look in - the book shop. Read, read, read (good books) to them!
    How many times I have heard 'Keep reading'! I read to my throat hurts and they still want more!!

  3. Great point, Sue: Excerpts are not the full experience. That would be like only being shown movie trailers instead of experiencing a full-length film. It may be enjoyable, but doesn't give you any kind of depth or complete understanding of a masterfully made movie. This would be even worse with books!

    Totally hear you, Naomi! Reading until your throat hurts is one of those sacrifices we make, eh? <smile>

    ~Luke

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