4 Reasons to Read Together as a Family

We decided back in our grad school days I think, even if we didn’t say it out loud, that we wanted to have a family who read, and read together.

A couple of times a week we would drive up to the Barnes and Noble a couple of miles from our apartment, grab a couple of armchairs, and read without buying any books. In fact, this is how we got all the way through Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. One elven song at a time, we sat in the back of that store and read, sometimes each with our own copy from the shelf, sometimes out loud. 

 

My wife and I like to remember our graduate school days together. We were still fairly early in our marriage, we were living in a new city, and we didn’t have much money. Not much at all. But that was sort of the fun of it.

We ate Totino’s pizza and boxed mac and cheese multiple times each week. We were careful to make sure the AC was never set too low and that we didn’t turn the heater on too early during the year. And for entertainment?

Well, a couple of times a week we would drive up to the Barnes and Noble a couple of miles from our apartment, grab a couple of armchairs, and read without buying any books. In fact, this is how we got all the way through Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. One elven song at a time, we sat in the back of that store and read, sometimes each with our own copy from the shelf, sometimes out loud. It was lovely, and it made memories that we wanted to carry on to our own kids. We decided then I think, even if we didn’t say it out loud, that we wanted to have a family who read, and read together.

Let me elaborate with a few reasons why it’s a good idea to read together as a family.

1. To stretch your collective imagination.

The imagination is a muscle, given to us by God. And like any muscle, without regular exercise, it will atrophy. But when you work it out, it grows stronger and stronger. By its very nature, reading is one means by which we exercise our God-given imaginations. You have to visualize people, places, and actions because they’re not spoon fed to you visually. As you use it, though, you find your imagination of your family begin to grow. And that effects other attributes of your lives as well.

A strong imagination means conversations are more rich. There is a greater hunger for detail when we tell our stories from the day. Smaller things become more wonderful because our perspective, as a family is being broadened. This is an amazing way to live, for as G.K. Chesteron said,  “Contemporary society has become dry, not for lack of wonders but for lack of wonder.”

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