The Joy of Reading to Grandkids.

Posted on: February 18th, 2011 by Kay Swatkowski

You may have tangible wealth untold
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold
Richer than I you can never be-
I had a mother who read to me.
“The Reading Mother” by Strickland Gillilan,
from Best Loved Poems of the American People

Three little girls and one little boy smelling of bath soap and dressed in footed jammies would crowd onto the trundle bed in the little blue bedroom. The nightime ritual included a book choice from each of them followed by requests for the silly songs we had made up inspired by recently read picture books. Kisses, hugs, glasses of water, more kisses and nighttime prayers were the perfect end to our days.

Reading time always renewed the sense of gratitude I had for the gift of these four children.

As they grew older, Sunday afternoons became the time when I would visit the two oldest during naps, in their newly remodeled basement bedroom, for Read Aloud time. As I sat on the floor between their twin beds, we began our tradition of reading chapter books.

Each week, we made progress on the story and each week we gasped in anticipation as we wondered if the heroine would survive or agonzed in fear at the certain doom of the hero.

Our first read aloud was Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. We spent months going through a set of 12 Bible Story Books. Little House on the Prairie made and entrance and before long, they were choosing chapter books to read on their own as Sunday afternoons slipped away.

As much as Jenny and Jon loved this time, I believe their mom loved it even more.

Children’s Literature experts suggest that only15 minutes of read aloud each day can have great benefits for children. Nurturing a love for literature, modeling reading as a healthy and enjoyable activity, helping kids increase their vocabulary, comprehension and imagination are only some of the benefits of reading.

Most importantly, reading allows parents and children to bond around the shared stories and emotions they experience. Life-changing conversations spring up as grandparents and children wrestle with the conflicts and problems of the main character.

There is nothing like reading to draw our children close.

But, where do we start? Are some books better than others for reading aloud! Well, yes there are.

Let me suggest five books for our youngest listeners. Jim Trelease, author of the classic The New Read Aloud Handbook, suggests Predictable and Wordless books for our preschool and early school children.

You may be familiar with these much loved and classic choices:

Are you My Mother? P.D. Eastman (Random House , 1960)

Brown, Brown Bear,What Do You See? Bill Martin jr. (Holt ,1983)

Tikki, Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel, (Holt, 1968)

Frog on His Own, Mercer Mayer (Dial, 1973)

Pancakes for Breakfast, Tommie dePaolo (Harcourt, 1978)

These predictable and wordless books allow even little ones to participate as they learn to anticipate the words or use the pictures to recognize what is coming next.

Take just 15 minutes to read with your grandchild and you will find it a delightful experience. It will be memorable for both you and your grandchild.

Book suggestions from Jim Trelease’s The New Read-Aloud Handbook, (Penguin, 1989). Check out Mr. Trelease’s book for some wonderful ideas on reading aloud to your grandchildren.

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4 Responses

  1. Marsha Sherwood says:

    Hi, Kay!

    I enjoyed your article. I remember the year I broke my back & spent the time on my back reading all the Chronicles of Narnia, & loving them. Then I read out loud & recorded the first one for the kids. What fun!

    Now we have grandkids, & they love to be read to also. Holly’s 5 called me “the book grandma” before they learned to call me Grandma Sherwood. One of their favorites was “Stand Back!” Said the Elephant. “I’m Going to Sneeze!” Of course, you have to do all the different voices. Benjamin’s little Evie still loves the story about Jonah, by Mark Lowrie. It goes to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” She learned it & would sing it to her younger cousins while they looked at the pictures.

    I love the Amelia Bedelia books and the books about Morris the Moose. Great fun and plays on words. I read a couple of them every year at the beginning of school. For excellent literature and artwork, I really like the Serendipity books, by Stephen Cosgrove; and for great Christian literature and artwork, I appreciate Max Lucado’s books about Eli and the Wemmicks.

    I could go on, but need to quit. I do agree that reading with your kids & grandkids is a wonderful experience! Thanks for writing about it!

    Marsha Sherwood

    • Kay says:


      Yes, you always loved reading! I remember that. I confess that I love children’s literature more than adult literature! Max Lucado’s books for kids are delightful. But, Narnia will always be my favorite.
      If you could choose one book to recommend for Read Aloud, what would that one be?

  2. Arden Galvin says:

    Hi there Dear, are you really visiting this website on a regular basis, if so afterward you will absolutely get good know-how.

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