A Legacy of Reading Aloud: My Essay in The Washington Post

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I’m writing fewer parenting stories than I used to. My kids are teenagers and have definite opinions when it comes to me writing about them. Which is fair, although I’m pretty sure they occasionally post not-so flattering videos of me on their Snapchat stories (whatever those are).

I also worry about sounding like I have this whole parenting deal figured out perfectly. The thing is — as every single person who’s ever been a parent or had one knows — that’s not possible. Like most parents, I have my share of regrets and longed for do-overs.

So maybe it’s ok to celebrate those times we get things right. The other thing about my latest essay in The Washington Post: it allows me some nostalgic for my kids’ early years. And also mine. Because my essay about reading aloud to our kids started with my own mom reading aloud to me.

It reminded me of all the things my parents had us do on a regular basis — reading and playing in the creek. Theatre, art museums and film projector screenings on the living room wall. Weekly library trips. Those endless woodsy hikes. Piano lessons.

So many things for me to complain about, which I did. And now? I love most of these activities. They are pretty much my favorite things. Well, except for piano. And camping. You can’t win ’em all.

Just a reminder to all my tired fellow parents: some of it will take. They may even thank you for it. And repeat the practice.

Writing about such matters in today’s Washington Post“Why Read Aloud Day Matters: In a World of Screens and Busyness, We Find a Time for Magic.”


Author: Kristin O'Keefe

Kristin O’Keefe has bartended in Scotland, written speeches for college presidents, and led communications & marketing for an economic development organization. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney's, Barrelhouse, Your Teen, Grown and Flown, and Scary Mommy. Find her on Twitter @_KristinOKeefe and Facebook at Kristin O'Keefe, writer.

2 thoughts on “A Legacy of Reading Aloud: My Essay in The Washington Post

  1. Brenda Klein says:

    Excellent blog post and Washington Post article, Kristin! My parents read aloud to us, too, and my brother and I recently started reading aloud to our mother, whose advanced Parkinson’s has robbed her of the ability to read. She chose “The Secret Garden” first (what an excellent re-read as an adult!), and now we’re working our way through the collected “Winnie the Pooh” books. She read to us … and now it’s our honor to read to her! ❤️

    1. Kristin O'Keefe says:

      That’s really special, Brenda. The Secret Garden is one of my favorite childhood books — such a beautiful story about bringing forth life and growth through love. Sounds like you’re doing the same. I bet your mom loves it.


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