Memories of Being Read To As a Little Girl


One of my favorite artists -Jessie Wilcox Smith

See my Pinterest Collection of Children’s Illustrations

I miss being read to. I know there are books on tape, but it isn’t the same as sitting at the breakfast room table listening to my Mother read. My father often brought me books from the children’s book section at Marshall Field’s on State Street in Chicago. He had a special friendship with the man who ran the Rare and Fine Book section buying special editions for his considerable collection. The gift of books, of reading, and eventually my own writing of two novels, began in the breakfast room listening to my mother.


Marcella Playing the Piano for Raggedy Ann and the Fairies

I loved playing with dolls so the Raggedy Ann and Andy series, created by Johnny Gruelle (1880-1938), were favorite books of mine. (In turn I have read them to my grandchildren.) Johnny Gruelle has been popular from his first book (1918) about a world of lovable dolls. Green Tiger Press says,”This is because of his genius at picturing toys who are, at one and the same time, appealing and yet living beings with feelings, aspirations and original thoughts. He was, additionally, a superb artist whose balanced and beautifully colored pictures continue to please us.” Hope you will leave a note in the REPLY below of a book that was read to you that you still love.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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7 Responses to Memories of Being Read To As a Little Girl

  1. dino0726 says:

    Hi, Stepheny – Yes, being read to brings back fond memories for me too. My grandmother raised me and read to me and my sister. 🙂

  2. johnvic8 says:

    The book I remember was “The Ugly Duckling.” It was turned into a cartoon that was an absolute favorite of my three girls. I must have seen it hundreds of times with them and the grandchildren. Not quite the same as at the breakfast table, but still a precious memory.

  3. Frances Jackson says:

    I love being read to. Even as an older adult. One of my happiest times of being read to was once when I was sick with flu, and wroth at being confined to bed. My youngest son was home from grad school, and he offered to read to me. I chose a short story written by Charles Lamb, “The Gentle Giantess.” My son had read only a couple of paragraphs before he began to laugh, and as he continued trying to read, his laughter became more and more uncontrollable, until he fell over on the bed and laughed to tears. I began laughing with him. We did eventually finish the story, somehow. It’s one of my favorite being-read-to stories.

    Another one, not so happy, was when I was being tended after having a tonsillectomy, in 1939, when I was not quite 10 years old. The woman tending me as I came out of the anesthetic picked up my much-read copy of “Alice in Wonderland” and began to read it to me. When she pronounced the word “curtsy” as “courtesy,” I was shocked. I tried to correct her, but couldn’t speak. As I sat up in bed and tried to mime the word “curtsy” she misunderstood and thought I wanted the basin to throw up in.
    I became more and more agitated and angry, waving away the basin and miming more desperately than ever. Finally I croaked the word “curtsy,” but by then she’d lost the train of thought and had no idea what I was talking about. I think we were both relieved when she was at last sent away and I was allowed to read my book correctly and in peace.

    Just one more— a high school history teacher who stands out in my memory as a woman who thought more about inspiring a love of history than she did of establishing dates and names, read to my world history class Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” I looked forward to each class, as we progressed thru the book. The French Revolution became compellingly real to me, and Charles Dickens became a much loved author.

    • What a wonderful Thanksgiving gift you have given me today with your ‘being read to’ stories. You know what I wish, that we could sit together having a cup of tea, taking turns reading to each other. In the Episcopal church they insert the scripture readings in the bulletin. I never follow along as the scripture is being read from the lectern, preferring to be read to. Wish I had your high school teacher history teacher because I became a late comer to enjoying reading history. Thank you for reading my blog and leaving a comment like this. Hope you will come back another day and read more. Blessings.

  4. My mother and some school teacher family members read to me for as far back as I can remember. One of my favorite books was the picture book Amanda, by Wolo Von Trutzschler, a gift from one of those school teachers. I loved that book about the friendly little snake and her monkey friends and the good fairy who gave Amanda a gold bell for waking her up every morning. Even after 65 years I can still visualize the pictures, and I still have the book.

    • Isn’t it something that we remember these early childhood books. We should probably spend this up coming summer rereading them to honor the child within us that still remains. Thanks for leaving this comment about Amanda and the good fairy.

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