Sometimes it’s my voice—why I read to my child

Tonight, as I was tucking him in to bed, my little boy gave me the best compliment. We were discussing reading, specifically how fast he is able to read silently. At almost seven, silent reading now feels like a special superhero trick to my child. He’s always loved words and books, and reading well makes him feel very proud. Obviously, I am proud too. I am also aware of how fortunate he is that reading came easily to him when so many kids struggle.

During this discussion, he tells me, “Sometimes it’s your voice I hear when I read.” Sometimes it’s my voice he hears when he reads. Mine! The voice that read “A is for Apple” one zillion times and the Curious George anthology so often I can name our top five favorite adventures. In those moments, when he is quiet and focused and alone reading, I am with him in his mind’s eye. I thought my heart would explode.

From the moment our children arrive, we work so hard to give them all the most important gifts life has to offer. We nourish them, make sure they are warm, and make sure they receive love. We do thousands of things that we hope are making a difference in their little lives. Reading to them is one of those things. Parents, doctors, and teachers know for sure that reading to children every day is one of the best ways to prepare them for school. We know that reading is part of a healthy bedtime routine and that reading is a better choice over screen time for young children. But did you know, that all of that reading would wind your voice into their heart and mind so deeply that they hear you when they read to themselves? Amazing.

A child who is read to daily will enter kindergarten having heard 32 MILLION more words than a child who was not read to on a near daily basis. Read to your babies. Take them to the library, and spend time sitting on the floor pulling books off the shelves and flipping pages. Let them choose books to borrow and then return and then borrow again. Our public libraries are free, so giving your babies this precious gift is within reach. Reading to your child is a gift that will come back to you, I promise.

Here is a very short list of some of my son’s favorite books when he was younger. Enjoy!

  • Baby Faces Board Book
  • Curious George’s Big Book of Curiosity
  • A Treasury of Curious George
  • Splish Splash, Baby Bundt: A Recipe for Bath Time
  • When Dinosaurs Came with Everything
  • Can I Play Too?

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About Dr. Sara Connolly, Board Certified Pediatrician

Sara Connolly, MD, FAAP, is a Board Certified Pediatrician who practices in Palm Beach County, Florida. She completed her residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she served as Chief Resident. She has a passion for child advocacy and has worked on the local, state, and national level to increase access to care for children. Her interests include nutrition, breastfeeding, and parenting skills.


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