What are your fondest family reading memories?

I loved reading to my son, now age 11, when he was a toddler. When we would finish a book he would look up from my lap and simply say, “Again.”                                                                                                                                                                                                            –Kate, Boston

What parent, grandparent, or aunt and uncle can’t remember the pleasure of having an infant or young child sit in your lap, enraptured by story time?  During November, Massachusetts Family Literacy Month we are reminded that family reading experiences are integral to young children’s healthy development. Bedtime stories promote parent child bonding, reading to infants and very young children opens up neurological pathways in their brains that maximize their capacity to learn across their lifetimes, and children acquire essential learning foundations through hearing, repeating, and telling stories, concepts like letters, words, shapes, colors, and sounds.

Join us as we celebrate Massachusetts Family Literacy Month at  “Celebrating Reading, Family-Style” is a breakfast event hosted by Raising A Reader MA at the Boston Harbor Hotel on November 15, 2012. This special event will invite you to remember your fondest early reading memories as we honor the parents and other adult caregivers who continuously strive to read with their youngest children in order to ensure they have a healthy foundation for lifelong success.

Our Event Chair, Susan Buta, and other members of the Host Committee, invite you to share your family reading memories at on the morning of November 15th at Celebrating Reading, Family-Style. Read theirs:

Susan Buta, Event Chair, Buta Full Life, International
Helen Clancy
Leah Lesser, Communications Director, Barefoot Books
Laurie Mattaliano, www.readingbarefoot.com
Keri Wilmot, www.toyqueen.com


 

Susan Buta, Event Chair,Buta Full Life, International

“Mrs. Johnson, my second grade teacher, read to us every week. The whole class was mesmerized because she was such a good reader. I distinctly remember she read “Charlotte’s Web.” and I can still hear her saying, “Wilburrrr!” in a voice full of character. She acted out every part as she read aloud. Because of her, I still love to be read to out loud and I read to others as she did – joyfully bringing characters to life.”

Like so many others, we are often solicited for new charities. We were introduced to Raising A Reader MA by my husband’s colleague, Steven Smith. In his excited introduction, I immediately understood Raising A Reader MA’s mission. My master’s degree is in multicultural science education and I particularly looked at factors that created academic imbalance among socioeconomic and racial differences. I knew that if a child was not fluent in reading by third grade, their chance of graduating college was greatly reduced. I also knew the keys to reading lie on a family engagement with their child’s education. Raising A Reader MA had the right concept to make real academic difference in a child and family’s life. When I found an organization that addressed the root causes of academic deficiency, I was a proponent from the start!

Helen Clancy

Mom, You’re Fired!” is a book I vividly remember reading when I was 8 years old. After I read the last page in this coming of age story about how one girl deals with her embarrassing mother, I went in search of my own mother to tell her about the book I had just completed. As I relayed the plot my mother listened patiently. And when I wrapped up my oral book report I said to her, “Mom, I won’t fire you.”

Leah Lesser, Communications Director, Barefoot Books

Reading is as core to our family as sharing meals and kissing our daughters goodnight before they go to sleep. Some of my most favorite memories as a mom are of reading to our girls when they were teeny tiny and barely able to hold their heads up to look at the book, never mind understand what the words on the page meant. I remember holding them close in the rocking chair next to their crib, smelling them, feeling their warm bodies, watching with delight as their little fingers reached out to touch each page. As they grew, they uttered their very first words during story time as they pointed to the pictures and exclaimed: “bear!”, “moon!”, “tree!” and one of my favorite words, “more!” as in, “Please more books mamma, more!”

Our girls are now six and ten and proficient readers on their own but they still won’t go to sleep without a bedtime story read aloud by mom or dad. And you know what? I hope they never grow out of that desire for story time.

Laurie Mattaliano, www.readingbarefoot.com

As a Barefoot Books Ambassador and a mother to two boys I have many fond memories of reading with my sons. One in particular stands out. I was reading the new release “The Boy Who Grew Flowers” to my son, who was then three. The book is intended for children a little bit older than three, so the themes, ideas and language were really over his head. But they weren’t over my head, and the story themes of acceptance of individual difference touched me deeply. As we reached the end of the book, I was sobbing.

My son, blissfully oblivious to the emotional content of the story and confused to see me weeping, asked “Mommy, why are you crying?”

“I’m crying because it is such a beautiful and good story,” I replied, wiping away the tears.

He looked at me and said, “Read it again.”

Keri Wilmot, www.toyqueen.comKeri Wilmot, www.toyqueen.com

My husband and I read voraciously with our 3-year old son, Gavin. Because Gavin is still so young, my fondest family reading memories are very fresh. Most of them center around Gavin making connections between story ideas he’s heard to his life experiences both at home and in the community. Young children are so hungry when it comes to knowledge and books have been a great way for us to not only expand his vocabulary, but reinforce real life values and skills, such as how to be a good friend and even successfully learn the complicated art of potty training. There is nothing more amazing then when Gavin uses the vocabulary and silly phrases he’s learned from books we’ve read multiple times over and applies them appropriately and humorously in real life situations. It takes a village to raise a child. I’d personally like to thank every author who has taken the time and energy to craft their word phrases carefully into a cherished story with beautiful illustrations. These experiences have made such an impact on the life of my child and I consider these amazing individuals part of our extended family.

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What are your fondest family reading memories? Share them in the comments below and we’ll add them to the page.