|"The day has been entirely mine..."|
Amidst these blessings was having the sublime good fortune of having been read to as a child. Were this the only right and good thing my parents did—rather than one of many right and good things—I would still have considered myself immeasurably fortunate. Reading aloud to a child helps her develop a vivid imagination, a passionate love for the written word, a deep commitment to preserving paper and leather bound books, and, with luck and encouragement, a devotion to writing.
|"Picture books in winter..."|
My mother would supplement Stevenson's rhymes with an anthology of poetry I can still recite from memory. (Zoon, Zoon, cuddle and croon, over the crinkling sea, the moon man flings him a silvered net fashioned of moonbeams three...) She would also read from 101 Bedtime Stories—barely a page long but enough to send me off to the land of Nod with something to dream about.
Soon I was reading to myself from The Happy Hollisters, The Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew. But these were set aside the moment I received my first "grownup" books: hardbound copies of Little Women, Old-Fashioned Girl, Kidnapped, and Treasure Island. (The juxtaposition of girl and boy books was my parents' joint acknowledgment of my penchant for climbing trees ... with a doll in my hand.)
|"With thoughtful eyes...|
Years later, I learned that my Aunt and Uncle would read aloud from the newspaper each morning, and on winter nights they would read to one another by the fire—usually something by Dickens. On hearing this I was utterly enchanted! How marvelous to be indulged this way in adulthood, carried away once more by the human voice onto a fictional landscape as we had when we were young. And why shouldn't we be? Why must the pleasure of "being read to" be deemed solely for children?
The written word is precious in its own right, but in the mouths of those we love it becomes balm, paintbrush, and canvas, bringing an entire world to life by wrapping our minds in a sweet fusion of sound and imagination. Reading aloud together engenders an intimacy—and vulnerability—that is unique in our varied communications. Whether it be a poem, an article from the newspaper, or a chapter in the Dickens novel we've been sharing, we are blessed with a treasure trove of discovery, generosity and closeness when we read it to one another.