There are so many different stories out there and so many books. How do we know which ones make good stories to read aloud? Which books should we read to children who can’t yet read for themselves? When should we share stories from our own culture and when should we share stories from other cultural settings? The questions you can ask about reading and stories are never-ending! So it’s not surprising that as adults, when we are asked to share books with children, we sometimes feel confused and overwhelmed about what to choose.
We all – children and adults − become readers one book at a time. It is only by reading on our own and with others that we come to know what to do and which books to choose. There is no correct place to start, only a correct time − now! Page by page, story by story and book by book we gradually learn more about books and reading, and we become more comfortable in our role as a reader and a reading role model for others. Each time we read a book, we learn something – and this learning never stops! There is so much to get to know and experience – from the look and feel of a book, to its themes, characters, style of writing and illustrations.
It helps to ask others which books they enjoyed and to try their recommendations like you might try on clothes in a shop − some fit and some don’t! But, just like growing our own wardrobe of clothes, in time we come to know which stories suit us best. Each of us gathers a collection of best-loved stories. These can be stories from close to home and from far-away places; some are filled with lessons and messages, some tell of hardship and challenges, and others make us laugh and fill us with joy.
Some of us start to gather stories as babies on the lap of a precious adult. Some of us start at school, when we are read to by a teacher or a librarian. These adults are able to pass on the power and delight of reading because they have experienced it for themselves. So, book by book, we develop as readers and we pass on this experience to the next generation, who in turn will pass it on their children one day.