In many households, parents read books to their children. My clearest memories of being read to were after dinner and on car rides heading for family vacation or visiting distant relatives. For me, after-dinner reading time was especially magical. One of my first book memories is hearing C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series. We heard one chapter at a time after dinner. That meant that sometimes I had to wait a whole day to find out what happened next. Perhaps the surprises were leaked, but I don’t remember that part. I remember only the magic of listening to the written word and being shown the pictures so skillfully rendered by Pauline Baynes that accompanied the text. My mother was usually the reader. She instilled in me a love of reading, but also a love of reading out loud.
So, in the natural order of things, I read to my children. Not only early-childhood books, but books that engaged them even as they grew to early teens. Harry Potter was a favorite. Even when they were old enough to read the books to themselves, they begged me to read them aloud. I can’t think of a more satisfying legacy to pass along than the passion for reading, but more importantly the passion for reading aloud.