Thursday, 22 November 2018
The Magic of Reading Aloud
About six years ago, I launched my first book, PS Who Stole Santa's Mail? I was a consummate newbie to the book launching game and filled my presentation time (and my audience's ears) with platitudes of gratefulness and incredulity. However, there was one point I did linger on ... the joy of hearing a book read aloud.
For me, listening to story time on Play School is still one of the purest joys on earth. To hear another human's voice relay 'the flow of language', slowly unveiling a story you can't wait to hear the ending for is indescribably soothing and fulfilling. I think this is because from the inception of speech, it is something that we have been conditioned and accustomed to.
I'd forgotten how good this made me feel until I was lucky enough to listen to a teacher librarian read a clutch of picture books to a group of children I was conducting the Read Up program with at the time. Again, hearing the rise and fall of a human voice bring the words alive enhanced the story experience. I only had to look at the children's entranced faces to know that they were feeling the same way, making the same profound auditory, sensory, magical connections.
As Kate DiCamillo proclaims in her opinion on reading aloud:
'Reading aloud ushers us into a third place, a safe room. It's a room where everyone involved, the reader and the listener, can put down their defenses and lower their guard. We humans long not just for story, not just for the flow of language, but for the connection that comes when words are read aloud. That connection provides illumination. It lets us see each other.
When people talk about the importance of reading aloud, they almost always mean an adult reading to the child.
We forget about the surly adolescent and the confused young adult and the weary middle-aged and the lonely old.
We need it too. We all need that third place, that safe room that reading out loud provides. We all need that chance to see each other.'
I coudn't agree more.
Listen to Kate and read the full transcript, here.
And please, please read aloud to someone or even yourself, today.