For The Young, The Old, and Everyone In Between





Ten years ago, her great-grandchildren enjoyed the music of the words she read aloud to them.

Ten years ago, her great-grandchildren enjoyed the music of the words she read aloud to them.

Reading aloud to a dog is good for both the reader and the pet.

Reading aloud to a dog is good for both the reader and the pet.









From the time I was very young, I remember my mother reading aloud poems, stories and interesting quotes that invited my comments.   There was something strong, warm and sweet in the sound of her voice, and the words set me on a path of loving tall tales and short stories.   She varied the readings she chose, nudging me to evaluate for myself what rang true and what did not.

She also read aloud to her grandchildren, and in the years before her dementia she read aloud to her great-grandchildren, too.  She shared with them  the music of words, the taste, touch, scent and sound of words.   She gave them a wonderful gift.

Now, coming full circle,  I read aloud to my mother.   At 98, dementia has caught and held her  in confusing earlier times, but she still responds to the music of words read aloud with love and enthusiasm.    Our daughter and grandchildren sometimes travel with me to visit my mother, and they read aloud to her with the gentle voices, affection and humor they learned from her.   These visits are our turn to give her the gift of words.

Tuesday, November 8th, is YOUNG READERS DAY.   It encourages reading to those who cannot yet read,   and  listening appreciatively to young readers and beginning readers when they read aloud to us.   Sharing the music of words is a genuine gift for both the readers and the listeners.   I encourage you to make the most of this opportunity.  You’ll be glad you did.

I was thrilled when my story, "First Child, Second Place" was one of the 2016 BLR prize winners and published in this issue of BELLEVUE LITERARY REVIEW, where science and literature meet. (A note: the cover is of children singing and learning; the stories and poems in the journal may be about children, but they are adult stories.)

I was thrilled when my story, “First Child, Second Place” was one of the 2016 BELLEVUE  LITERARY REVIEW prize winners and published in this issue of BLR, where medicine and literature meet. (A note: the cover is of children singing with the nurses and helpers; the stories and poems in the journal may be about children, but they are adult stories.)

from "Somebody" an anonymous poem in this book:  "Somebody loves you deep and true.  If I weren't so bashful, I'd tell you who."   ;)

from “Somebody” an anonymous poem in this book: “Somebody loves you deep and true. If I weren’t so bashful, I’d tell you who.” 😉   Read a children’s poem and smile!




Filed under Books and book titles, Dementia/Alzheimer's, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, life questions, making a difference

42 responses to “For The Young, The Old, and Everyone In Between

  1. The love of reading is a wonderful gift your mother gave all of you. My grandchildren now read to my mother and they tell me her favourite books are the ones I wrote. That is so special to me. I dedicated the latest one to her.

  2. I am always surprised by your choice of topics and never disappointed. 🙂

    And congratulations on your literary award. You won because you entered the contest with good creative work – simple, but never easy. Brava, Marylin.

    • Thank you so much for those kind words, Marian.
      I do wish my mother was alert enough that I could read the story to her. Although it’s fiction, two crucial events in the story are based on things my mother told me many years ago. I grew up in southeast Kansas where a swath of the Ozarks cut through, and there were many colorful, surprising and strange things that happened in the area. 🙂

  3. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Congrats on your award, Marylin! I’m so grateful for the mom God gave me, but I’ve decided that if I had to have a different one, I would want yours!!:)

  4. juliabarrett

    I’m thinking of Mary, Queen of Scots. In my end is my beginning. Full circle. What a lovely post.

  5. Congratulations on your award, Marylin! That’s fantastic news! I’d love to read a few lines to your sweet mother. xo

    • And she would love having your read aloud to her, Jill. Your friendly smile and sweet voice reading aloud to her. She wouldn’t be able to follow much of the meaning, but she would love the musical sound of your words. ❤

  6. Well done on your award, Marylin. I’d love to read your story. And yes, I agree with you (as I do so often, on so many things), that reading aloud and listening to stories is a wonderful experience for all involved.

    • Two teachers, separated by an ocean, reading aloud and listening to stories and creating wonderful experiences. We have many things in common, Jenny; reading your blog posts often makes me shake my head, agreeing with you or wishing I could be along on your treks, especially when you’re covering art. 😉

  7. Hi Marylin, Tuesdays are usually my “Penny” days and I love to read to her😘. Congratulations on your award! How wonderful ❤️️. Love and blessings, Joanne

    • Then next Tuesday will be a 5-star day for you, Joanne. If you have Penny for the day, cuddling your sweet grandbaby and reading to her, you can block out all the election hullabaloo and fallout (either way), and just enjoy what really counts…Penny! Love and blessings to you, too. ❤

  8. It was quite a gift your mother gave you, your daughter and your grandchildren. A gift you’re passing on through the generations too. It’s thanks to you that books remain and our words will never die.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  9. Wonderful post.
    My husband and I used to love reading to our girls before bed. It became a special family time when we read books such as the Narnia books.

    Congratulations on your award!

    • Thank you, Merril.
      One of my favorite story sales came via HIGHLIGHTS, and it included a week in Chautauqua, NY for a conference. My room in the Writers’ Theme Inn, was the C.S. Lewis room, with murals painted on the ceiling and walls. Instead of a closet there was a large “wardrobe,” and the inside was painted to look like there was another world through the back wall. It was the most amazing and inspiring room! 😉

      • Oh, that is SO cool, Marylin! Wow!

      • If you’re ever in Chautauqua, NY, Merril, the Theme Inn is a terrific place to stay. I had won the Highlights New Writer Contest with my first children’s short story, but I felt like it must have been a mistake. Other children’s writers and I were walking down the halls of the Theme Inn, reading the featured author’s name on the door (the rooms were all decorated to fit what they’d written). We cam to the E.B. White door, and everyone got excited, saying it was probably decorated with Charlotte’s Web. I was so embarrassed; I had thought of Strunk and White’s THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, and wondered how that could fit in the decor. ;(

  10. Jane Sturgeon

    Well done on your award my lovely, so very well deserved. I love this post, it is full of loving richness. Some of my most treasured memories are reading aloud to Emily when she was younger. Taking little ones to the library for storytime…magic. ❤ Xxx

    • Aw, thank you, Jane.
      I’m sill smiling at your knitting post, and the picture of the wonderful yarns. Several weeks ago, the very old, small library nearby had a special event on a Wednesday afternoon. Grandmothers (or mothers, aunts, women friends, etc.) were invited to bring children 5 and younger for two hours of “hand knitting” (simple weaving on the fingers) whiled children’s poems about knitting and creating were read aloud, and then they all had cold apple juice followed by poems about apples. It was a huge success. Hugs to you, Jane. ❤

  11. Claudia

    While teaching, I loved teaching the love of reading. It was always so sad to see kids come in that did not like to read. I had some success changing lives of a few for the better. Loved seeing kids turn to stories finally!!!

    • For us as teachers, Claudia, there are few things more exciting than seeing “the light” flicker on with students who previously had been uninterested or un-successful with their learning. Learning to read–and loving it–is one of the best routes to success in all areas of learning and life. Not all children are fortunate to have parents or family to read to them, so it’s so important to fill in that gap.
      It’s so good to hear from you, Claudia! ❤

  12. What a wonderful and continuing legacy, Marylin!
    I have such wonderful memories of sitting with my mother and sister in one of the living room wing chairs for story time. I am not sure how we fit, but my sister and I squeezed in on either side of her. Well, maybe one of us sat on her lap. I particularly recall The Wind in the Willows.
    Fast forward, and I have similar memories with my own daughters.
    I hope one day to have some grandchildren I can read and snuggle with!
    Congratulations on your story, by the way!

    • Reading aloud–and being read aloud to–is one of my favorite “full circle” blessings, Jane. Especially when I remember being read to by my mom, then years later listening her read aloud to Molly, and then later to Molly’s children…who now read aloud to my mother. And with all of us, the snuggle factor, and feeling her heart beat, was a wonderful, reassuring part of it. 😉

  13. It’s so wonderful that you and your family can give back to your mom, Marilyn. 🙂

  14. Jim

    Your prize-winning story is very good, sweetie. Your use of 1st person point of view (a twelve year-old girl who lives on a backroad in southeast Kansas in the 1970’s) is so genuine. I see so much of you and your strength in her. I wish your loyal blog readers could read the story. I checked the Bellevue Literary Review website, and unfortunately one must buy the Review to read the story. Sorry, readers.

    Kids never tire of stories, whether read to them, by them, or given in the old oral tradition by a grandparent. My grandma used the latter. I believe I mentioned in an earlier blog how she would tell me a story from her childhood to get me take a nap. I made up a title for each story and kept a catalog in my head. I would often request certain favorites–like “The Strawberry Patch” or “The Rowboat,” both of which I remember in great detail to this day.
    Bless you, Grandma. I always felt so loved when I curled up on your lap for a story as you rocked me in that creaky, wooden rocking-chair.

  15. I wish I had known your Grandma, Jim. I love your memories of her and all the special things she did. I think you stories and Molly’s with my mom, her Grandma, are very similar, and I know how precious they are. I was one of 13 grandchildren, and though my Grandma was wonderful, almost all my holiday memories, along with cooking activities and listening to stories, included at least several other of my cousins. Thanks for sharing this, sweetie ❤ and double hugs and love for always being so supportive of my writing. ❤ ❤

  16. Grace

    I don’t remember the time when you took the picture of Grandma reading to us. But I do kind of remember that we always liked to go see Grandma when we were little. I do think that I remember when we go and read to her better. I really like to go and find stories/poems to read to Grandma. I like it when we say that with any story/poem that doesn’t have a listed author, we read the title and say that Mary Shepherd wrote this one. it is funny that we lie to Grandma about that. I think that she knows we are just kidding.

    Love you,


    • Oh, Grace, when the story or poem is anonymous and we say, “And this one is by Mary Shepherd,” she smiles without probably knowing for sure that’s her name, but she senses this is fun and all done in love. I do know that when you and Gannon are in the room with us, reading to great-Grandma and talking and singing to her and patting her hand, she feels the love from us all.
      And I love you, too, Grace, very much. ❤

  17. Molly

    I remember how Grandma would read to me, sing with me, cook with me, and work on projects. There are certain phrases that when I hear them, I can remember what grandma’s voice sounded like. I would love to have Grandma say, “Hello, Darling!” just one more time!

    • And the projects you and she did together always amazed me. One of my favorites was when she had a big plywood board in the garage and then made paper mache for you and your cousin Andrew to make a town on the board, with houses and roads and trees. She always brought out the creative side of her children and grandchildren, and like you, just one more time I’d love to see her smile and say, “Hello, Darlin’!” ❤

  18. Gannon

    Grandma is such a cutie and I am sad that I didn’t get to see her on the last visit because of my pneumonia. I love when I go to see her and I tell her stories about the things that I remembered about her. I think that she does remember who I am when I am telling her stories, and also when I sing or read to her.

    Love you, Gannon

    • I definitely think she recognizes your voice, Gannon! She likes your voice and how you pat her hand while you read to her. It’s all very special to her…and to you, too, I think.
      Love you lots, sweetie! ❤

  19. It’s great to share those words and evidence shows that sharing books and rhymes with children from birth has a very positive effect on their learning.

  20. Oh Marylin, your family are so loving and thoughtful and just wonderful. What a wonderful legacy your dear Mom has given you, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren…and beyond…through the power of reading stories and poems. I used to love reading poems as well as stories to my children, we think of certain lines quite often to this day – usually the silly ones of course! – and recite them with a smile… And I’m thrilled for your competition prize win…richly deserved, many congratulations my dear friend! 🙂 ❤ xoxo

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