(written late last night:)

My mother shared this with the Literature Group she leads, and I loved it so:

Twenty Minutes a Day

Read to your children
Twenty minutes a day;
You have the time,
And so do they.
Read while the laundry is in the machine;
Read while the dinner cooks;
Tuck a child in the crook of your arm
And reach for the library books.
Hide the remote,
Let the computer games cool,
For one day your children will be off to school;
Remedial? Gifted? You have the choice;
Let them hear their first tales
In the sound of your voice.
Read in the morning;
Read over noon;
Read by the light of
Goodnight Moon.
Turn the pages together,
Sitting close as you’ll fit,
Till a small voice beside you says,
“Hey, don’t quit.”

Richard Peck

Tonight, Mama and another wonderful home school mother spoke on teaching from literature. Of course, the first and overarching encouragement was to not neglect reading to your children.

Reading is something we love to do. I always wish I spent more time reading, and am looking for ways to re-work our days in order to do so. I’ve read out loud to Jameson since he was a toddling babe, and over the last 6-7 years, we’ve had poetry-at-lunch, Bible-storiy-at-nap, chapter-book-at-bed, picture-book-every-other-time traditions. Whatever works at that stage, in that season, we do it. They don’t turn the page; that’s Mama’s job. They sit and listen, and I read.

This afternoon, it was just William and I in the kitchen, and he requested I re-read a favorite chapter from a Narnia book. It wasn’t a chapter I’d been terribly impacted by — in fact, I hardly remembered it. But as I read, he could practically finish every sentence! I couldn’t believe how, after hearing it once, he had memorized every detail.

Then, right as I was getting ready to go hear my mother share, Jameson sat down next to me with the Jesus Storybook and began reading — flying right through, barely stumbling, with animation and expression in his voice. I was astounded. When did that happen? I honestly don’t know.

That only confirmed, once again, how wonderful reading truly is. There are worlds and ideas opened up to little minds, not to mention phonics and grammar and vocabulary that practically fall into their laps as they listen to good literature. And as their minds hear of far-off places and people, we hone and sharpen their worldviews, showing them how Jesus has something to say about it all.

That’s why “read loud” is almost always a Most Important Thing on my daily list. If we do nothing but chores and lots of reading, we have had a wonderful day.

I’m reminding myself of that. I’m committing to memory William’s shining eyes and Jameson’s confident voice. Not to mention Beatrice’s sweet head resting against me as she listens to Jemima Puddleduck for the hundredth time.

Reading is a gift — one I’m so grateful to have received, and one I’m determined to diligently pass along.


When it came time for reading today, Beatrice wouldn’t sit still, Jameson wasn’t much better, and William interrupted almost every sentence with a question about vocabulary. We plodded on. Because they will learn the art of listening and self control, and in the end, no matter how many corrections have been issued, they beg for the next chapter. (Today, I said no. I had to excuse myself so I could go tear my hair out. Ha!)

(we all have our own favorite reading nook, right?)

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