Friday, July 1, 2011

Together or Alone?

Annie of Annie and Aunt recently posted about the right book at the right time - introducing a book to your child when she is ready for it.  That post prompted me to wonder, as I commented there: Which books do you read to your child and which do you let her discover and read on her own?  There's something wonderful about reading a book yourself and feeling it is your private world and something equally wonderful, but different, about sharing a book with someone.  Is it selfish of me to intrude on that private pleasure because I want to participate in it, see my child's joy in it, take credit, even, for introducing a certain book?

Right now I read my daughter books that she is emotionally and cognitively ready for but cannot read on her own.  Soon, however, she will be able to read such books by herself.  And then, how do I choose which books we read aloud?

I remember my mother reading books to me that, if memory serves me correctly, I was capable of reading to myself - specifically, Little House on the Prairie and the All-of-a-Kind-Family books.  (Mom - feel free to let me know if that was not the case.)  But as a friend of mine pointed out to me, none of our mothers read Ramona to us when we were 5 or 6; rather, we read them to ourselves at 7 or 8.  Why are we reading these books to our kids at younger ages?  For me, at least, it is because I am so eager to share a beloved book with my daughter.  Is that a good enough reason?  Or am I depriving her of a different sort of reading pleasure?  Of course, there are enough books to go around, so maybe I am worrying needlessly, as I usually do!

Annie and Aunt solicited responses to my comment in their next post so please let us know what you think, either here or there!


  1. Just posted my thoughts on the question:

    Thanks for putting it so nicely!

  2. I try to pick books that I don't think my son would choose by himself. I used to pick out books that were at his reading level, but then I read this great post: and so now I read books that would be harder for him to read by himself, but that I know he can understand. For example, he really likes listening to The Mouse and the Motorcycle, but he shows no interest in reading it by himself, even though it sits on the shelf. I've noticed that he instinctively knows "his level".

    You are right in pointing that there are enough books to go around. He will always find new ones and sometimes it is fun to reread a book you have heard at an earlier age, discovering things that you missed the first time around.

    As a side note, as if this comment is not long enough, I will NOT be reading Harry Potter out loud. I know so many parents who are eager to read it (sometimes before it is appropriate, IMHO). There is something about that book which seems better suited to discovering it at an age when you can read it by yourself. That said, I'm sure it is also fun to hear it aloud.