Most of us know the joy of reading with young children. We relish the moments spent snuggling and sharing stories. As children begin to read for themselves, we miss the laughter, suspense and wonder we experienced together.

Why do we stop? I suppose life gets busy and children are supposed to read alone, right?

What would happen if we had family story times or continued reading with one another?

When my son Ian was in second grade he read the first book in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. He couldn’t put it down, so I read it too. We read the second one together. Then we read the third and so on.

We gasped in unison when the characters we’d come to love were in danger, which was often. We marveled at the bravery of the Baudlaire children, especially Sunny, the youngest and discussed the unwavering integrity of these young heroes.

The middle child in the series, Klaus, carried a notebook where he wrote ‘useful information’. My son, Ian, also carried a notebook with him everywhere. The first thing he wrote in it was a poem about clouds. My personal favorite entry was, Note to self: Stay away from Katy [his sister] whenever possible.

We had just begun book eleven in the series when Ian died unexpectedly from Asthma. I cherish the memories and hold fast to all we shared and learned through the journeys we took together in books.

Following Ian’s death, my husband, daughters and I continued to share books. We often read to one another at the dinner table sharing words of comfort, encouragement and laughter.

Reading is relational. Reading can continue to bond families long after the little ones become fully-able readers.