1) I get to spend time with my kid and he enjoys it.
2) I get to make up silly voices and no one makes fun of me for it. We have been reading the Harry Potter series and we’re about to finish Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My British accents are incredibly inconsistent and combine Irish, Australian and other clearly not British sounding phrases, but they sound fun to me and my kid seems to like them.
3) I get to share my favorite children’s books with my son. I didn’t love reading as a kid, but have come to love it later in life. I particularly like picture books and children’s stories. It was one of my favorite parts of being a classroom teacher and love the fact that my kid is entering third grade, which is my wheelhouse for read aloud choices. This has been the best read aloud summer yet.
I just noticed that the first three start with “I get to…” I don’t have to read aloud to my child ( really should though) but I get to do it. It is a naturally positive thing for me, never something I have to do with him. It may take me a few minutes to transition from something to read aloud, but once I start, it becomes hard to stop.
4) I get to read stories that make us both laugh out loud. I mostly know where the laughs will come since I’ve read a lot of the books before, but it’s hard not to laugh along with your kid as they find something funny for the first time.
5) I get to enjoy ridiculous fantasy stories without worrying about who might be watching me read and wondering how a grown man could take so much joy in stories of wizards and magic. (Clearly however, the rise of Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and other traditionally nerdiness is some culmination of geek-dom that surpassed even the Harry Potter craze in terms of making being a Nerd okay.)
6) I get to share a love of reading with my kid. (I was not a big reader when I was a kid, but have grown to love it, particularly children’s books and am so hopeful that my son will adopt a love for reading well earlier than I did.)
7) I get to have real conversations about the story with him. Sometimes I ask obviously teacherly questions to make sure he’s understanding the book, and he doesn’t really want to answer but will sort of go along with as long as I don’t ask too many. Sometimes, I get to ask a really meaningful question about a character that touches on character and empathy and the meaning of life.
8) I get to learn together with my son. This spring, we read a historical fiction novel about the Wright Brothers, because he was going to be Orville Wright for his class wax museum. We both learned about planes and flight as we read, often pausing to look up information that neither of us knew.
9) We get to watch the movies after we finish. I love books now, but I’ve always loved movies. Watching the Harry Potter movies, Holes, both versions of Charlie and the Chocolate factory, are still great. Hearing my son say that the book was better than the movie is even greater.
10) We get to create memories together. I love every year when a facebook video of my son “reading” The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Green Eggs and Ham pops up onto my feed. He was 2-ish at the time and obviously isn’t reading the words, but had listened to my wife and I read it so many times that he had basically memorized it. That video is priceless for us.
Please add your own reasons to love reading aloud to your kids in the comments or on Twitter (#whyreadaloud).