Reading!My mom read to my brother and I every night when we were kids. One of our favorite books was The Book of Virtues for Young People, by William J. Bennett.

It wasn’t the catchiest title for me when I was little, but this book was filled to the brim with amazing stories and poems that were all grouped into themes such as Friendship, Courage, Honesty and more. We loved it! I’d keep asking her to read one more, just one more…

“Pleeease?!?”  *Insert giant doe eyes here*

I recently found this book again, and by coincidence opened it to a beloved poem by Emily Dickinson under the theme of Compassion:

If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Reading with children is about much more than simply learning the letters, sounds, words and syntax of our language – the stories we read over and over also help kids absorb social values. It helps impart upon children the qualities that we as educators, parents and loving adults find important. Reading with kids shapes their character as much as it influences their love of books, or their understanding of the printed word. Only now as an adult do I realize how true this is. (Thanks, mom!)

What are some of your family’s favorite stories/poems to read together?

Share below!

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