reading aloud togetherSome time ago Mike and I started reading aloud together.  Our lives and interests, as we’ve aged, had changed significantly and sufficiently that it seemed wise to see what new ways we could find to connect, to share time and space.  Reading aloud together has become one of the new activities we share, and it has brought us pleasure, laughter, tears, insights, material for conversation, connection beyond what we would have imagined.

Actually we didn’t  imagine or expect anything.  We just started…and the joys and benefits were apparent from the first book.  We kind of fell into it.  A friend gave us one of the Moomin books (thanks Tricia!), Moominland Midwinter,  from the Swedish series by Tove Jansson.  Mike started reading it himself, and laughing, then reading me sections, and soon we were both reading it aloud, taking turns.  The rest is history.  (See my post Moomin Messages for some deep life wisdom we took from these books!)

Another of our early finds was News of the World, by Paulette Jiles.  I won’t even give you a teaser or blurb.  I suggest you check this out for yourself.  Suffice it to say, we were hooked, enchanted, enthralled.  We look forward to the reading aloud together time each evening, and it sometimes extends beyond what we had planned, because it is such fun, so rewarding.

Quite apropos, a few days ago a friend (thanks Fran), sent along this article, recently in Thereading aloud together Globe and Mail.  It’s entitled, The Power of Reading Aloud,  Here just a few excerpts that struck me, but do read it yourself, for there is much more.

Communion with the written word is something we associate with children and bedtime stories. But for grownups, and especially the elderly, it can also tie us together, improve our minds and ease our loneliness. 

The beauty of the language, the reader’s phrasing and intonation, the pauses between words and sentences, the timbre of the voice and its warmth or chill: All these things communicate themselves in a complex aesthetic experience that’s as transient as breath and as comforting as physical touch.”

“Literature…can promote empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence, which are cognitive processes that can lead to greater survival.”  reading aloud together

And it’s even good for dogs too!

reading aloud togetherIn the last couple of months, Mike has started being a “Book Buddy”: reading, and/or being read to, by first graders at a local elementary school.  The pleasure and connection he has gotten and given make my heart sing, as well as his, and the kids involved.

Do read the article, savour its insights, wisdom and consider finding opportunities to bring reading aloud together into your life!  I’d love to hear your experience!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook 

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