Norma Gaffron is thrilled to have this chance to share her family’s long tradition of reading aloud. Her children and grandchildren are now grown, but they took the time during their Christmas Eve celebration to share a picture book together. Norma’s son Tim took the photos of Lauren (21), Norma (88), and Erik (25) enjoying Tuesday by David Wiesner. As Norma reports: “They sit still and listen very well!” They chose Tuesday because when Erik was in preschool, he used to prompt their read-alouds by saying “Talk it, Grandma” — and Tuesday, Norma says, is the perfect book to “talk it.”
Norma notes that read-alouds provide great opportunities for further discussions. As she read with her grandchildren growing up, they would all look at the pictures and comment on what was happening (“Did you see the mouse in the corner? Why do you think the illustrator put it there?”).
Norma offers sage advice for new parents: “Read to your baby every day. Start now. If they don’t understand the words, they grow by hearing your voice.” In Norma’s family, the read-alouds continued even when the grandchildren grew older. Even Spot the rescue dog (now sadly departed) seemed to listen in and sat up to look at the illustrations. When Lauren was a teenager, she made Oobleck and invited her friends to a party where her father Tim read Dr. Seuss’s Bartholomew and the Oobleck to the group of teens.
Norma says, “I think I can safely say that reading was a big part of what made our three kids and two grandkids who they are today. If you can read, you can handle most anything. If you love reading, you learn a lot.” She reports that Lauren is studying environmental science at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Erik graduated from University of Minnesota Duluth with a major in journalism — and that each had a book listed on their Christmas list, one a mystery, the other one about climate change. Norma states, “I like to think we raised star readers here!”
Bookology is always looking for new Reading Teams to help us celebrate the joys of reading aloud together. Contact Lisa Bullard for further information if you’re interested in participating.