There are certain books that stay with you forever.
So much of the POWER of reading aloud is the emotional connection between book characters and ourselves. It is remembering what was going on in our lives while we were reading a book. It is knowing that reading a certain book can almost make the world seem "right" in some way.
A cherished book (especially if it was a gift from a loved one) is a sign that you are loved. People often write in the front of books they give as gifts because they want you to know what the book means to THEM. Sometimes we can communicate our deepest thoughts through a book.
Books, then, give our innermost thoughts a voice.
The Velveteen Rabbit is my favorite read aloud. My copy was given to me by my parents in 1980 when I was nine years old. Each time I pick up the book I can still hear my mother reading it to me. I can see my pink and white flowered sheets on the bed where she would sit and read. I can remember the spot in the white bookshelf the book would occupy.
Earlier this year my son lost a little friend of his in a tragic accident. Ellie was six, full of sunshine and personality, and died suddenly one Friday afternoon. While we knew that "Heaven Just Got Better", the days that followed were difficult for our community. (If you feel inclined, continue to pray for Ellie's family - it is a long and difficult journey they are on.)
All my son knew was that a sweet little girl he had spent four years in preschool with, and proclaimed he would "marry and buy her a blue truck and a pink cell phone", was no longer in our world. He knew we were all sad and didn't quite understand the finality of her death.
To continue as normal the next week wasn't possible in our homeschool. I felt the need to hold my children close. Thoughts of Ellie's mom were with me nearly every waking moment. We couldn't focus on "school". We turned to books - a constant source of comfort.
I had been saving reading The Velveteen Rabbit aloud to my youngest (he's 7) for just the right time. Well, then was just the perfect time. We read it early one morning, snuggled on the couch.
We read aloud a lot that week. I think it was the only real "school" we did, and I was ok with that. Sitting together, woven together by marvelous stories somehow helped us that week.
Read alouds are GIFT. They are a gift you can give each and every day of your child's life. They are a gift that will stay with them forever, and a gift they can pass down to their own children.
How providential, then, that during The Ten Days of Reading Aloud series on my blog that we visit our favorite local bookstore and this is on the front sidewalk:
Throughout our town we have horse statues. We've enjoyed seeing all of the different themes on them. As we approached the bookstore the kids ran up to this one and noticed it was from The Velveteen Rabbit. My daughter said, "Oh, it's the old skin horse." Amazingly, we were all quiet and just admired this horse.
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
We spent a good hour in that bookstore, looking at books we hadn't seen before, but also picking up a lot of books we had read aloud together. Our read alouds have given us SO MANY memories.
Do you have a most special read aloud? I'd love to know what it is!
This post is a part of the iHomeschool Network's Homeschool Hopscotch... you can access many great blog series by clicking on the image below!