SummaryGraces received by reading aloud with your family? Amanda Evinger, Mom of three, on special blessings you’ll discover with this wholesome family activity.
This morning, we all sat in shock at Miss Maryvale. I mean, how could she be that way?
The Mitchells (from The Mitchells: Five For Victory) are just so loveable, and her fear of scarlet fever was a little out of hand. Moving out of their house without even saying anything? And the other week, we all sat on the couch, marveling at Ma and Pa from Little House on the Prairie, braving the storms of life like gladiators…well, pioneers, that is. This spring, as we voraciously poured over Fr. Damien and the Bells, I have to say his whole lifestyle of continual self-sacrifice etched its way into our spirits, and reading about his life in such profound detail made us want to give just a little more for Jesus ourselves.
Sigh. And that’s just the beginning.
By far, the most soul-lifting and heart-warming times I’ve spent with my children were either in front of the Blessed Sacrament or cuddled in some comfy spot, books in hand. And I know I’m not alone. Homeschool families will testify over and over: there’s nothing like reading aloud as a family, whether outside on picnic blankets in the summer or the winter by a sparkling fireplace.
Reading good quality books that bring Christian morality to life covers many educational, spiritual, religious and even psychological bases in our children’s development. In Your School of Love, Agnes Penny writes:
“Biographies of famous people, especially the Saints, will provide further insights into history and religion that will fascinate children… Reading classics will show them in concrete ways the entrancing beauty of truth and virtue and the horrible consequences of evil and vice. Reading will ignite their imaginations and inspire them to think, to dream and to write. Reading will show them that virtue is not only good but admirable and loveable. Furthermore, reading good books will become a habit that can comfort, entertain, inform and inspire them for the rest of their lives.”
I remember when my oldest child (now 7) was a toddler, and not speaking very much. I was a little concerned, so I decided to make sure I dedicated one hour every day to reading aloud to her. We read everything from Dr. Seuss (that was fun!) to Saint stories, to anything that had our moral standards and vivid pictures. In just a few weeks, I noticed her starting to talk up a storm. I couldn’t believe the difference!
Since that time, I’ve started including sixty minutes of reading aloud with my children on my daily “to-do” list. This hour reading with them helps me to stay committed to something which I believe is so important for our relationship, not to mention their spiritual, emotional, and academic development.
I have also found that my current toddler, Marella, (almost 2) seems to feel more secure and content during the day when I take ten-minute breaks to put my feet up and read her a story. She gets the attention she needs, and my feet do as well!
As my children have gotten a little older, it has been so rewarding to see how reading classic stories and Christian-based literature has helped to develop their characters. I could never count how many incredible discussions have blossomed from our read-aloud sessions!
With these golden nuggets of inspiration in mind, let’s pray about ways to incorporate reading aloud into our family life a little more this new school year. Can we stash some books away in the car to read on trips? What about making up our reading program, along with our kids’ input, that fits our family’s needs and goals?
Do we need to refresh our bookshelves and stock up on some classics, Saint books, and interesting, photo-filled non-fiction books? Reading aloud can bring us many of God’s gifts, including the gifts of family time and wholesome fun, and the chance to grow in His love.
This school year, when you browse your dusty bookshelves, consider the extraordinary tales hidden in those pages, and the wealth of unforgettable family memories just waiting to be made.
St. Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis!