LeVar Burton Says Reading Is Central to Correct Parenting

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THERE ARE THREE critical phases by manner of your children and reading.

All three are special, but the final one is gut-wrenching.

The foremost stage is reading round your baby. My mother modified into a voracious reader. She always had in any case two books that she modified into reading similtaneously, and one in every of them modified into veritably a Louis L’Amour recent. Reading modified into a pure piece of her each day lifestyles, so it modified into a pure piece of ours, too.

Of us set up aside a matter to me the total time, “How enact I win my kid to read extra?” And I set up aside a matter to them, “How veritably enact your children take a look at you reading?” Without modeling, there may maybe doubtless doubtless even be no curiosity.

The 2d stage is reading to your baby. I started reading to my daughter, Mica, when my spouse, Stephanie, modified into pregnant along with her. (A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving—you realize, one thing light.) I couldn’t wait until she arrived to read tales to her; I wished her to acknowledge my recount when she obtained right here.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany

I judge that storytelling is piece of who we are as human beings. It’s piece of our culture as communal creatures. We share tales. And when Mica grew into a baby who may maybe doubtless doubtless maybe sit down in my lap and flip the pages, that modified into the most efficient act of intimacy we may maybe doubtless doubtless maybe share as father or mother and baby.

I may repeat you that in the mammoth arrangement of issues, those lap moments are fleeting. In case you may maybe doubtless doubtless hang a baby who will sit down on your lap and listen to to you as you read them a account, enact that with them tonight. Enact that every night. With gusto.

Because quickly your lap will buckle under their weight and you’ll be reading shoulder to shoulder with them in their too-exiguous-for-you mattress, which is peaceable special but finally diversified.

Mica and her mother read the Lemony Snicket sequence that manner. I read Mica Harry Potter until we obtained to the piece with the Dementors, after which she didn’t are attempting to read Harry Potter anymore because she modified into traumatized by the Dementors. (I, too, modified into traumatized by having exposed her to the awe that is the Dementors.) And then sooner than I knew it, Mica had reached the final and supreme stage of reading.

The third stage is staring at your baby read without you.

The moment is bittersweet. You’ve succeeded, in any case. You’re thrilled—elated—that that seed took capture. However you’re sad. You desire to mourn the loss of after they got right here to you for memoir time.

It’s one in every of the most crucial of many times in parenthood whenever you may maybe doubtless doubtless stand on the sidelines and pickle your baby stroll away, and you honest must belief you’ve performed ample. And in the occasion that they’re reading, you may maybe doubtless doubtless hang.

Mica is 28 now. We focus on what we’re reading, but the times of reading round her or to her are lengthy long gone. And whereas I haven’t long gone reduction to reread any of the books she and I read together when she modified into young, I’ve been questioning if it’s time—honest to relive a pair of of those moments I shared along with her.

Perchance I’ll even opt up the Harry Potter sequence again—and take a look at if I will have the ability to create it past the Dementors.

A version of this article before every little thing appeared in the January/February 2023 effort of Men’s Health.

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Headshot of LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton


LeVar Burton stars in the final season of Star Fade: Picard, out February 16 on Paramount+, and he’s a children’s literacy advocate and hosted Reading Rainbow on PBS for 23 seasons.

Commercial – Proceed Reading Below

Commercial – Proceed Reading Below


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