We love reading out loud in this house.
The baby loves it (we think), the 2 year old, 4 year old, 7 year old, 14 year old and 16 year old love it. So do Mummy and Daddy. And the dogs. And the cat.
We read the Bible, picture books, poetry, novels, lots of non-fiction, instruction books, the back of packets of food ... but we are very very careful about what we read. There's a lot of bad stuff out there, and we don't want rubbish running around our heads.
Reading as a family is special - even if sometimes it is difficult. Not everyone wants to sit still while we are reading. It takes forward planning, discipline and consistency to train children to play a nice quiet game while we read out loud. But the benefits are huge!
Our favourite characters develop voices, and often we have a favourite line from a book.
Oft quoted verses include:
From Marguerite de Angeli's "The Door In the Wall" John-Go-In-The-Wind's mother says "I'll bake thee a bannock".
Again, Marguerite de Angeli's "The Black Fox of Lorne" (where I had to do a Scottish accent for a lot of the dialogue - I kept lapsing into Irish, Welsh and Yorkshire, but the children didn't mind too much!). One character (McCrone big nose) only appeared for two lines, but both of them we love: "Meat - is it?" and "Indeed. Indeed."
And another character from that story - Gavin of Lorne "So! Ye be twain! Two cockerels from a double-yolked egg."
From "Jenna's Journal" written by me - Bren the bully-girl says "Get lost rich girl. These are mby trousers." For some reason that line (and the "blocked-nose" voice that it was read in) have become a classic around here.
Henty's books always have something in them that we laugh at. "The Young Buglers" had the African character Sam who referred to himself as "dis coloured gentleman." And he often used the term "dis chile" (our baby is often affectionately called that.)
"The Cat of Bubastes" (which are currently reading for the second time) has Tylus the baddie: "Wrech! Do you dare to murder the High Priest of Osiris?" after which he is dealt with by our hero Jethro.
"Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year DownYonder" by Richard Peck has the very colourful character "Grandma". One of her best lines: "Boys is bad news. Girls is worse."
Our 16 year old reads to The Smalls. Our 7 year old reads to the other Smalls. Daddy reads the Bible to the big boys before he goes to work. Mummy reads to everyone when they will listen.
If you don't read out loud to your family then start now!! Don't know what to read? Try Proverbs! Or the Gospel of Luke. How about some of the good A A Milne poems, or Robert Louis Stevenson? Read heaps of good non-fiction about animals, plants, places in the world, famous people ...