How To Read To Children
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
We have spoken of the effect of reading aloud on the linguistic development of the child, and of its value in stimulating and encouraging an appreciation of beautiful verbal expression. The necessity for this cannot be over-emphasized; but in doing so, it should never be forgotten that there is another purpose to be served in the daily reading with the children. This is served by the reading which is designed to open up to them new ranges of experience and acquaintance with the conditions of life, which otherwise they could not gain in so short a time.
There is a very large body of such literature for children. Stories of adventure on land and sea, stories of heroism, stories of strange lands and customs—all these may be called into requisition to supply food for the mental growth of the child-mind. It may well happen that the story of Franklin's kite may lead to a child's acquaintance with a whole new range of facts of vital importance to his education, or that the interest excited by a tale of a Chinese student may be the stepping-stone to geographical knowledge which must otherwise have waited indefinitely.
From this standpoint, the body of literature which may profitably be included in the child's acquaintance is indefinitely extended. It includes much that is wholly within the child's range of comprehension, and more that is only partially within its grasp. The swiftness and definiteness of the action, the vigor and movement of the story, are the factors which compensate for the maturity which the child does not understand..
These are considerations which are of vital importance to every mother in choosing the books to put into the hands of her children; and while she should make ample allowance for material of immediate interest, she should never forget that the gradual widening of interests is an element which must never be forgotten in her planning.