How Dr. Suess, Ferdinand the Bull, and Black Beauty can make make your child (and you) smarter

233093 Yesterday, April 2, was International Children's Book day. I was at a Soroptimist meeting and we were asked, "What was your favorite book as a child?"  The responses were varied, mostly predictable. Animal lovers like me had Black Beauty and Lassie; Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates; Little House on the Prairie; The Pokey Little Puppy; James and the Giant Peach; Tom Sawyer; Horton Hears a Who.

But there was an important theme. Those adults who had been read to  when they were children were enthusiastic about books and stories and were grateful to their parents. There were a few there who had not been read to, and that made me sad and made me very grateful to my parents. I can still hear my mother's voice reading all of the Oz books to us, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, The Little Colonel, The Bobbsey Twins, Snick, Snack, and Snurr, the Little Engine Who Could. And I remembered the years of reading to my children, loving the flow of the sentences in Roal Dahl books, the plots and images in the House at Green Knowe, the adventures of the Great Brain, the rhymes and stories of Dr. Suess.

I realized that by reading to me, my mother gave me the gift of loving stories and words and that made school much easier for me. She also created a line that moves from her to me to my children and someday on to my grandchildren.

So, if you want your children to succeed as adults, to know that you love them, and to have a love of books, take the time to read with them. Go to the library, pick out a book, sit together and share the story.

What is your favorite book from when you were a child?