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The Importance of a “Reading Mother” (or Father)

I recently came across a poem entitled “The Reading Mother,” by Strickland Gillilan. It describes the thrilling adventures of a child who had a reading mother. He was able to sail across oceans, visit ancient cities, meet famous historical figures, and triumph over evil; and all he had was a few books and a mother who read to him.

This beautiful poem reminded me of my childhood; I was fortunate to have a reading mother and father. They read to me every night, often more than once as I begged them to “please read it just one more time.” I journeyed all over the world and met a rich cast of characters that I still cherish.

Ever since, I have had a deep love of books for their ability to transport a reader into a different time and place, some real and others fictional.  Books are the cheapest vacation a person can buy, and I have traveled to the ends of the earth and back. I thank my parents everyday for being the catalysts that began this lifelong passion.

Reading to your children is a wonderful way to spend time with them. Together, you can battle evil foes, set sail with pirates, fly with dragons, unearth buried treasure, and see the wonders of the world. On these adventures, you can also learn important lessons and meet characters that will stay with you for the rest of your lives.

Even if your child does not grow to love books as I did, they will love the time spent with you and cherish those memories. Just the title of a book can transport me back under the covers of my little bed with my mom or dad’s arm around me. It is more than stories that stay with us; the memory of being together stays, too.

Reading does not have to be the “thing” that you do together either. You can be the singing mother, the cooking father, the sporting mother, or the tea-party-attending father; the point is to spend meaningful time with your kids and create lasting memories. Find time every day to spend with your children, even if it’s only for the length of one book. It will mean so much to them, and to you, to share those moments.

Eventually, I grew old enough to read on my own, and I would disappear into my room for hours, completely consumed by the world I found between the pages. My parents did not spend that time with me because I didn’t need them; I was able to go on my own adventures.

Still, they would ask me about the book I was reading and listen with rapt attention to the story that was so dear to me. They found other ways to go on adventures with me, like playing sports, going to amusement parks, and seeing movies.  

They are not reading parents anymore, but they have a reading daughter. I will always be grateful for that.


Like the article? We bet you’ll love this book:

“Mama let’s make a moon; it won’t cost too much. We’ll use second-hand stardust And leftover love; We’ll stuff it with silly And marshmallow goo And paint it with promise. Mama, Let’s make a m…

Mama, Let’s Make a Moon

Clay Rice

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