Overheard at the Bookstore

Josie Leavitt -- March 20th, 2013

Monday was an in-service day for our local Waldorf school. In our building, the two of the other tenants are parents at the Waldorf school, so while they were at the conferences, their kids were hanging out in the bookstore.

Kids hang out in the bookstore all the time. What made these three girls, ranging in age from seven to ten, different was they took turns reading out loud to each other. I sat at the register working on a purchase order while I listened to the ten-year-old, Trina, entertaining the others with a spirited reading of Emeraldalicious. This girl threw herself into the story with such gusto I thought that her parents must be excellent readers to her. She paused, she inflected,  and more importantly, she clearly enjoyed sharing the story.

This got me thinking about reading out loud and why sometimes there’s an arbitrary cut-off for it when a child can competently read on her own. I’ve had many discussions with parents who say that once their kid turned eleven or so, they stopped reading out loud at nighttime. I know some kids might prefer that and want the quiet time to read on their own, but it made me sad. I think there’s a real joy in reading out loud with someone you love, whether they’re ten or fifty. The connection, the time spent together, and the shared experience is something that really can’t be beat.

So, let’s get everyone reading out loud again. It sure made my morning listening to the kids.