A few years ago, I worked as a volunteer for an organization that promoted reading. Once a week, I would take my assigned struggling readers to the library, work on homework and encourage them to pick out books. The first time I read a book aloud to them, they just giggled. They kept giving each other looks and I thought perhaps I had food on my face. When I asked what was wrong, I was shocked to learn the truth: No one had ever read a book out loud to them. No bedtime books, no adventure tales or laugh-out-loud silly stories. It wasn’t that they didn’t enjoy me reading to them—in fact they learned to love it—they just never experienced it before and thought it odd. It’s sad to imagine that there are kids who don’t get to regularly enjoy books, especially when studies show that reading out loud to children is a crucial step in their learning process. And as far as parenting tasks go, it’s easy and fun! You don’t have to have a voice like Orson Welles or the dramatic skill of Meryl Streep to keep them entertained. The personal time, the connection itself is invaluable. Still, if you want to make the time really count, check out this article that has great tips for making reading time even more rewarding educationally.