When it comes to bedtime, every day is Read Aloud Day at my house. Reading stories out loud is one of my all-time favorite parenting perks, a daily ritual that we have never skipped since my son was an infant. One of his early favorites, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, was published in 2011 when he was a year and a half old. He was obsessed with trucks, and had every word of the book memorized. He would cuddle his dump truck as we read, his little voice finishing each sentence.
My darling baby boy is turning four later this month, and a couple weeks ago we started on our first chapter books. While I’m excited to enter this new reading frontier with him, I also recognize that our days of snuggling up together with a picture book before bed are numbered. Soon, he’ll want to read his own books, under his own covers, with his own flashlight, hiding from his evil bedtime enforcer—me.
It’s a heartbreaking thought, but one that reminds of something Barbara Kingsolver once wrote: “Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.” So I’ll keep doing the job that I do best. Teaching my son that stories are magical portals to different worlds, that you’re never alone when you’re reading, and that a love of books is one of the greatest legacies I can pass on to him.
In honor of World Read Aloud Day, take a scroll through this excerpt from Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, which is logging its 125th (!) week on the New York Times Best Seller list. And if ever you needed a reminder of how glorious it is to read a bedtime story aloud to a child, watch this video.
Happy World Read Aloud Day!
Guinevere de la Mare
Senior Community Manager