It is such a simple thing to do, volunteering at the local elementary school to read to a child on a one-on-one basis. Because opportunities in my family to read picture books has long disappeared, I am driven to pursue that one simple task out of pure pleasure. It brings back a host of memories, my mother reading to me before I fell asleep (I can still hear her voice), reading to my own children and grandchildren, (read it again!) and my kindergarten classroom where story time was everybody’s favorite. We know the principles: a good foundation for both reading and writing begins early in life with the development of language. And what better way than to read a story and give the child a chance to talk with you about it, naming favorite parts, telling the whole story in sequence, (and then what happened?) allowing the child to give you back some of the language just heard in the experience (do you remember what this is called?).
Our minds rest in a story. We’re taken care of for the moment. We trust the author to take us away with words. The illustrations are our first exposure to art. We enter a world far away and as close as our hearts.
The kids come to me with smiles on their faces. They are so eager, so full of questions and obvious delight. It is such a simple thing to do. Just me and a kid and a book.