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Sharing My Love of Reading

By Susan Carlisle

I came to writing through my love of reading. A book has always been open waiting for me to finish it since I was thirteen years old.  I promised myself when I became an author that I would give up writing if it decreased my time to reading. I’ve held to the promise. I still read as many books as I ever did, maybe more. Because I love books I think everyone else should love them too. That is one of the reasons why I started reading to a class of students.

My oldest son is a second grade teacher. He has asked me a number of times to come read to his class. I’m ashamed to admit that it took me awhile to set time aside to do so. I’ve been a number of times now and have to say that I get more out of it than the children do.

I not only read to them, I ask them questions, quiz them about the story and listen to what they think about the characters. They always surprise me with how smart they are. As a writer and a reader it is my joy to read to the children and I believe my responsibility to pass my love of books on to another generation.

Some friends gave me a stack of children’s books to read my grandchildren when they were born. I’ve already started doing so. I look forward to reading the Little House on the Prairie books to them when they get older and after that the All Things Great and Small series. I’m sure I’ll sprinkle in a Hardy Boys and a Nancy Drew also. Dr. Seuss,  Beatrice Potter…

If you aren’t  sharing the love of books with someone consider offering  to read at a school, library, nursing home or literacy program. I promise that you’ll be glad you did.

What book would you read to someone?


Laura Russell - April 17, 2013 - 4:00 am

I’ve been wanting to re-read my childhood copy of Winnie the Pooh. I read Charlotte’s Web to my kids. I had not read it as a child. Reading it together was touching. Reading to a small person would be a treat.

Mary Preston - April 17, 2013 - 4:43 am

I love reading to the children at work. They are 3 years old going on 4. It’s magic when I have the undivided attention of a group of 23 children. Not a muscle moves, not a peep is heard.

Marilyn Baron - April 17, 2013 - 5:50 am

What a great idea. I love those pictures of you reading to the children. My absolute favorite book growing up was Little House on the Prairie. That’s what made me want to become a writer. I am also a voracious reader and when I read a great book it only makes me want to write more.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 8:48 am

I’d forgotten all about Winnie the Pooh. I need to get a book to read to my grandkids. It is fun to share your love of books.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 8:50 am


It is wonderful when you have a child’s complete attention. Reading to them is the perfect way to achieve that.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 8:53 am

My fourth grade teacher read the Little House on the Prairie books to our class. As an adult I bought them all to share with my own children. I now plan to read them to a third generation. I can hardly wait.

Chris Bailey - April 17, 2013 - 10:00 am

Susan, I believe the ability to read well is a key to civilization. I also believe writers have an obligation to pass on the joy of reading–both as a purely altruistic act, and out of the desire to build a future market!

Every Wednesday afternoon, I join with other adults and teenagers in a one-on-one after-school program for at-risk kids. Last week, I read Jo Kittenger’s “The House on Dirty-Third Street.” In this picture book (by a Birmingham author!) neighbors come together to help a single mother and her young daughter make their affordable house a home. I would love to read more complex books with these kids, but they’re just not ready! Like you, I am surprised by the perspectives the children bring to each story. I learn plenty from them.

Pam Asberry - April 17, 2013 - 10:17 am

What a great post, Susan! I home schooled my kids and we spent a big chunk of every day with great books. They had their own but I also read aloud to them every afternoon: Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter, the Little House books, the C.S. Lewis series, “Charlotte’s Web,” and so many more. Now my boys are all but grown but I have kept all of our favorite books; maybe I will share them with grandchildren one day. In the meantime, I should think about adopting a classroom. I would love that!

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 10:32 am

I applaud you. It sounds like a wonderful program. I know the kids will remember you when they become adults for the gift you are giving them today.

Maxine Davis - April 17, 2013 - 11:05 am

Susan, I really enjoyed your post. A couple of times I read to my high school students. They loved it. Everyone quiet and hanging on every word, but I think I still loved it more than them. Your grandkids are going to make you their queen!

Debbie Kaufman - April 17, 2013 - 12:32 pm

I started with the “Pat the Bunny” book when my kids were small. My absolute favorite to read aloud is “NO, David,” by David Shannon.

Linsey Lanier - April 17, 2013 - 1:31 pm

I also love the photos of you and the kids, Susan. I’d love to hear you reading those books. You ought to do some recordings.

I think one of my favorite books as a child was Peter Pan. I really wanted to fly. And the Uncle Remus stories. (I think they were both Disney versions, but I read them myself, as I recall. Over and over. :))

Oh, and when your picking out books for the grandkids, don’t forget The Narnia Chronicles and Tolkien.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 4:36 pm

I think you would really enjoy adopting a class. The kids get so excited about having someone stop in to read to them. Makes them feel special.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 4:38 pm

I read to high schoolers in lit class sometimes. They do enjoy it. My mother really likes for me to read historical road signs and guide books when we travel together.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 4:39 pm

I don’t know either one of those books. I’ll be going shopping soon.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 4:41 pm


Thanks for the suggestions. I actually read Alice in Wonderland after I became an adult. I forgot about Peter Pan also. Already look forward to reading it.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - April 17, 2013 - 6:44 pm

Susan, reading to your grandchildren or any child is time well spent. I read to my kids. I still recall The Large and Growly Bear and some of the Dr. Seuss books. What fun! I applaud your list of books. Some of those (most, really) were my favs as a young girl. Also the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery series.

Susan Carlisle - April 17, 2013 - 8:16 pm


I only have a few of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I’m going to have to buy more. I think I’ll even see if I can get some of the old covers. Loved them.

Carol Burnside - April 18, 2013 - 11:26 am

You know there’s dozens of them right? Maybe even hundreds. I’d check them out from the library.

Susan Carlisle - April 18, 2013 - 4:41 pm

That sounds like a plan.

Hildie McQueen - April 18, 2013 - 9:36 pm

What a great thing to do, I think by reading out loud to the kids you get them interested in books. Great job Susan! :rainbow:

Sandra Elzie - April 19, 2013 - 2:11 pm

Ah, Susan. I think you know how much I love books….and sharing them with kids. Mine loved to be read to…but didn’t love to read themselves that much. Now, my granddaughter is venturing into the joy of reading…but also the fun of writing. Yeah!!!!

Love the pictures of the class.

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