I remember my mother reading books to me when I was very young, and my father telling me fantastic stories. I remember a lover reading Proust aloud to me as we picnicked along the Seine. I remember a friend reading me excerpts of a memoir written by a woman we both knew. I remember the dozens and dozens of book readings I’ve attended, just for the pleasure of hearing the author read his or her own words aloud.
Want to brighten someone’s life? Read aloud to her. Especially your children. Research suggests that reading aloud builds word-sound awareness, stimulates language and cognitive skills, encourages motivation, curiosity, and memory. It helps form a positive association with books and reading later in life. When kids have nothing else, please, let them escape into a story—or better still, escape along with them.
March 6 is World Read Aloud Day—a day dedicated to connecting with another person through the joy of reading together. It’s very simple: choose a book, choose a partner, read. Notice their expressions, their laughter, their tears. Witness them recognize themselves within someone else’s pain or joy or fear or hope. And if you can, give them the book you’re reading and ask them to pay it forward. You may never know the love you may engender, or the benefits you may sow.