Reading Aloud

There's a lot of reading aloud done in our house. Mostly it's me reading to the girls, though there should probably be rather more of it done the other way round. Listening is the main way that Alice, for reasons previously discussed, feeds her book addiction, and lately Evie has been asking for longer books too. They both like to be read to in the bath, for some reason... Currently I'm reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to Alice (she's finally getting into the Narnia books, after a couple of over-eager, too-early attempts on my part to introduce them), while Evie is listening to The Starlight Barking, the sequel to 101 Dalmatians (anything with dogs is good for Evie).

I've been reading to Alice since she was very small, a babe in arms in fact. Evie's aural concentration span is not as long, so she hasn't sat and listened to quite as many books as Alice has, but she does all right. I've been trying to work out exactly how much time I've spent reading aloud in the last few years. Say I started seriously when Alice was two and a half, so make it seven years -- let's say, conservatively, half an hour an day (often it's a lot more than that, but then there are days when we don't read at all, so I'm sure it evens out). 365 x 7 (forget the leap years!) = 2555, divided by 2 = 1,277 and a half hours of reading.

Crikey. A thousand hours. How about that, eh. I think I should get a medal.

The upside is that I feel pretty confident about my reading-aloud skills now. And I'm certainly no Stephen Fry, but I may modestly say that I too have read the entire series of Harry Potter aloud, and I even sometimes did the voices. And whatever criticisms one may wish to level at the Harry Potter books (not that I do wish to level any, actually) it cannot be denied that they are a brilliant read-aloud.

Another upside is that I love doing it. I enjoy reading aloud, I relish the joy of introducing the books I love to my children, and getting the immediate feedback of their reactions. I love the cries of 'Keep reading!' when I try to put the book down. And surely, after a thousand hours, my daughters will carry with them some memory of these precious times we spent together, sharing books. For all my failings as a parent, that's one gift I'm determined to give them.


  1. I used to read a lot to my younger sister. We've ended up with very similar senses of humour (compared to my two other sisters who are completely different) and sometimes I think that the reading time might have helped shape that.

    Or, looking at it the other way, maybe I read to her because we both liked funny books...it's very chicken and eggy. In any case there's no doubt that reading aloud together was a bonding experience.

  2. Reading to someone or being read to is so soulful. Um, david often reads to me in the evenings. He recently read me The Hobbit. And I read him my wips (which may not be so much fun for him, poor love). x