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  • emilyjpray

The absolute best reasons to read aloud, and free resources to do so.

The children who have us in their lives, come with a million different unique needs, personalities, senses of humor and developmental levels. But one consistent trait among all of us, is the powerful and cellular need for safe connection with our caregiver(s). Taking the time and care to read aloud to our children is an easy, and so so sweet way to create these connections.

While deep rooted connection and the safety that connect brings is reason enough, here are even more reasons to read aloud to a child in your life:

1: Kid’s don’t care if you do all the character voices, if you have a perfect cadence, or even if it takes time to put the words together. They just want your undivided time, and the experience of ‘being-with’.

2: Kid’s don’t need you to be cool, or perfect. They just need you to be present. Being present, can be the thing that literally makes or breaks a growing child's confidence. We all need to feel seen - and making time to slow down and open a book with a child does exactly this.

3: There is no wrong age. Our kids might be brand new babies, or 99 - doesn’t matter. We can connect by sharing the experience of reading.

4: Feels good to feel validated right? To find a community of peers? Showing the child or children you care about that there IS a community for them, there ARE people who care about the same things (even if it isn’t you), and they CAN explore the questions and interests they have does absolute wonders for confidence. Lets help kids feel like they can be themselves. We as adults might not always get it - but we absolutely can always support it.

Interested in dinosaurs? Cool. - There’s a book about that. Interested in Gaelic myth? - Fantastic. Let’s go read.

Dragons and fairies?? - Wait until you see the fantasy section.

5: Reading does SO much for our brains. Reading aloud with kids helps cognitive development, helps them develop cognitive skills, helps them learn about theme and complex relationships, problem solving, imagination, concentration and creativity. Reading with kids creates a lifetime desire to read independently. What could be better?

While reading aloud is an important passion, we also have to consider that books are not cheap. They are also not always accessible, and there is a huge disparity in access to age appropriate reading materials among different income levels and ethnicities. Below, are some resources for all people on where/how you might access some books - hard copies, and digital alike.

Resources on finding free books: (I am not sponsored -I just love resources).

  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: This program is INCREDIBLE and I highly suggest searching online to learn more about how you can participate and/or receive a free book every month. This literacy campaign is so inspiring - and doing so many good things for children.

  • Little Free Libraries - search their website in your web browser, and then just enter your zipcode to find a little library near you, or find out how to make your own!

  • Freecycle, Facebook parent groups and Craigslist: sometimes parent groups, faith groups, yard sale groups and the like offer access to free books. It’s worth checking and sometimes, asking!

  • - free online books including dyslexia friendly fonts and books designed for English language learners

  • - gobs and gobs of free digital books and resources from educational to whimsical.

  • Public Library

I hope this list, and these resources serve as a source of inspiration for you to take a few minutes out of your day, and read aloud to someone you love. Happy reading!!!

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