They say that reading aloud to your child is a great way to start conversations about topics that you might have otherwise avoided, been too uncomfortable to discuss, or that would have never come up otherwise.
It can bring you closer to your child by giving you the opportunity to learn their opinions and see their perspectives on different subjects. As a parent of two boys, I can vouch for the validity of this statement.
In fact, just the other day I found myself in a deep discussion with my oldest son, Tucker, about the workings of the piston on a dump truck. He was explaining it to me in terms that I could understand. He is three.
For about a year now, my knowledge base regarding trucks has grown exponentially. I eat, sleep, and breathe bulldozers and excavators, as well as trucks that, as recently as a year ago, I did not even know existed – like skid steers and feller bunchers. Our conversations at the dinner table revolve around stabilizer legs, sirens, and the differences between excavators and backhoes, which I still can’t quite figure out.
And we read.
We read about trucks everyday. When we go to the library, we get books on trucks. I don’t even have to show Tucker where the nonfiction truck section is anymore. By the time I catch up with him in the children’s room and drop the book bag from my shoulder, he is already there with a truck book in each hand ready to load the bag up. And it doesn’t matter if we’ve read the book before, or if there is an over-abundance of words to a page, because all that matters is that it is a book about trucks.
Our wonderful librarian – God bless him – helped Tucker pick out some fun stories about trucks in addition to the nonfiction ones. He said to me, on the side, “Just so you don’t totally lose your mind.” I thanked him profusely and became ecstatic about reading something to Tucker that had a plot and characters. How refreshing.
The story didn’t matter to Tucker. As long as the book had a tractor or a truck on the front, he was interested.
I know so much about trucks. I read about trucks. I dream about trucks. I step on trucks in my living room. When I am asked by my two-year-old to read a truck book even though I just finished reading it, I say yes, and when he asks me to read it to him five times more that day, I smile and read it. I love to listen to him name them all, no matter how long or challenging the names are. I love to listen to him make his siren sounds when we turn to his favorite truck page, rescue vehicles.
Being almost 40, it is actually fun to be reminded how much you can learn about a new subject on which you previously had very little knowledge just by reading. I tend to find myself being pulled toward the same types of books and interests out of habit. To be honest, trucks are probably not a topic that I would have chosen to delve into if given the choice, but the fact that I can now share this with my son and learn about something that he is interested in while he is learning about it at the same time is pretty cool.
And, apparently, my son’s enthusiasm is wearing off on me. The other day, I found myself driving down the street and I screamed, “Oooh, look! A dump truck!” only to realize that I was the only one in the car.
Here are some recommended stories about trucks when you are feeling too tired to go through the parts of a Big Rig’s engine again:
Otis by Loren Long
The Gobble, Gobble, Mooooo Tractor Book by Jez Alborough
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
Fire Engine Man by Andrea Zimmerman
Are there any others that you would like to recommend?