I remember my mom reading to my brothers and I when I was a kid. We had this beautiful set of junior reader books. The books were divided into categories: Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends, Growing Up – things like that. I think they might still be in the basement of my brother’s house.
One particular story she read a lot was O Henry’s The Ransom of Red Chief. She couldn’t actually make it through the whole story without laughing hysterically – although as a kid I never really never understood why. As a parent, I totally get it now. Mom also used to read Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems to us. I remember “The Swing” vividly. His collection was one of the first I bought for my daughter after she was born.
I read to my kids when they were little. They loved Dr. Suess. My son loved the David books. They loved Winnie the Pooh and when they were small, they referred to an area near our house as the 100 acre wood. Books have always been a part of their lives and so has reading aloud. I read aloud to my students. Three quarters of the way through Paul Zindel’s classic, The Pigman, my grade nine students were begging me to finish. I believe that reading aloud is important -as a reader and as an audience, even if you are just an audience of one.
Michael Scotto shares his recollections of first audience in his lovely essay Two Scenes of Reading over at NerdyBookClub, an exceptional blog if you are interested in books for children and young adults.