Wednesday, March 21, 2007

reading aloud

As soon as I learned to read (which happened freakishly early), I began to hate having anyone read to me. The words grated on my ears. The very idea infringed my sense of independence. I could do it all by myself, just the way I didn't need any help to put my winter jacket on, since I had learned to arrange it on the floor upside down and flip it over my head.

Also, my parents and grandparents read so incredibly slowly. I was sure that I could have read chapters and chapters in the time it took them to finish a few paragraphs. Listening to their laborious progress through the book was just a waste of my time and prevented me from finding out what I really wanted to know -- how the story ended.

Of course, they meant well. But I always remember how I used to feel when I hear about studies like the one cited here that assume without question that parents reading to children is A Good Thing. In theory, I suppose, it could be an enjoyable and educational parent-child activity. And I'm sure that many children love the closeness and the shared excitement at the unfolding plot. But I sometimes wonder how many other children sit sullenly in their parents' laps, waiting and waiting for story time to be over.


Lori said...

I laughed as I read this. I was very much the same way. I was just recalling being in the 3rd grade and having our teacher read the Little House books aloud to us. I hated it. I would sneak my own copy of the book under the desk and read ahead.

I think it definitely has a lot to do with how well a child reads independently. Although not always... My own sons are perfectly capable readers and can do so with great efficiency and comprehension, however they still beg to be read to at night. They are 12 and almost 9 so I think there really are some kids who love that sort of parent-child quiet time. For them, despite their proficiency as readers, reading independently is something one does when required (sigh...). Being read to is relaxing and entertaining for them. Of course I can't help but sometimes roll my eyes and tell my husband, "It's just one more way they want to get of doing the work themselves!"

LeRoy Dissing said...

I agree with Lori...our kids loved it when we read to them but once they could read, we stopped. It was not uncommon for all of us to be reading but not aloud. I also think reading to kids helps them want to read when they are older. Both of our kids read a lot as adults and I think much of it had to do with reading to them as children...and then making lots of books available to them too.

LawMommy said...

I enjoyed being read to by my mother, who was a quick and animated reader, even after I could on my own, but, not so much by other people. I love reading aloud to my son, but, he requests this activity, so, I think he enjoys it. Also, at 7, he can read many simple books to himself, but, if he wants the Magic Tree House or James and the Giant Peach, he comes looking for me.


delphi said...

I didn't have much patience for that, either. Still don't. I HATE presentations where someone puts together powerpoint slides and reads them to me.

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akeeyu said...

I could read faster than either of my parents at a very young age, but I still loved to be read to because of the funny voices or the snuggling or the comforting ritual of it. Every time the power went out, for example, my father would break out the oil lamp and the Edgar Allen Poe.

My stepdaughter has reached an age where she can certainly read on her own, but she still loves story time at night. I think her motivations are similar. It's easier for her to ask to be read a story than to say "I want a twenty minute hug every night."

Oh, and I know what you mean. I have been known to snatch the paper from my husband when he's reading articles to me (slowly) and say "Please...I'll do it myself."