The Early Years: Being Read to & Told Stories

"In choosing books, let us be careful not to give merely 'pretty books', but those that have a distinct literary flavour, and that the children will read and re-read many times. It is not the quantity they read that does the good, but the quality, and what they are able to absorb. I cannot do better than to quote from Miss Mason on this subject:
"Guard the nursery; let nothing that has not a true literary flavour; let the children grow up on a few books read over and over, and let them have none, the reading of which does not cost an appreciable mental effort. This is no hardship. Activity whether of body or mind, is joyous to a child." Let the child have his own book-shelf, and choose what he wants to read from that."
Our Children's Play: Their Toys and Books by Mrs. C. Hatchell,
Parents Review, Volume 17, pg. 366

"They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told."
Parents and Children, pg 263

Resources to Help Find Living Books:

"But let them have tales of the imagination, scenes laid in other lands and other times, heroic adventures, hairbreadth escapes, delicious fairy tales in which they are never roughly pulled up by the impossible-even where all is impossible, and they know it, and yet believe."
Volume 1, pg 152

"The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times -- a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story-books."
Volume 1, pg 153

Books & Stories: Tell them Tales/Stories

"In connection with this subject let me add a word about story-telling... Every father and mother should have a repertoire of stories -- a dozen will do, beautiful stories beautifully told; children cannot stand variations... Away with books, and "reading to" -- for the first five or six years of life. The endless succession of story-books, scenes, shifting like a panorama before the child's vision, is a mental and moral dissipation; he gets nothing to grow upon, or is allowed no leisure to digest what he gets. It is contrary to nature, too. "Tell us about the little boy from Harlem!" How often do the children who know it ask for the most hero-making of all tales!"
Volume 5, pg 216

The way I interpret this passage is not so much that you should never read aloud to your child, but that you should not have stacks of books to spend hours upon hours reading to them. Her philosophy fosters an image of parent and child with eyes on each other in communication. It is hard to look someone in the eye when your eyes are in a book, so books yes but less, and stories told with interaction with the child. Bring the story to life, let them live in it.

Resources to Help: 

[I am constantly adding more resources, this entire endeavor is a work in progress. Be patient and check back often! Thanks!]

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