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What I Really Know

About Reading to a Grown-up

You're never too old to be read to

My husband is not a natural reader. Neil prefers to listen to books on tape when he takes long business trips. I was noticing him struggle as he tackled a book about Mickey Mantle recently. In record time he was asleep with the book perched on his belly. He lamented the next morning that he really wanted to read the Mantle book, but couldn't get the task accomplished.

See also: The value of lifelong learning.

A couple enjoys the pleasure of reading out loud on the couch.

Story time for the Shapiros. — Photo by Matt Roth

I remembered how lovely it was to have someone read to me as a child and the joy I felt while reading to my own child so many years ago. I had an idea: I offered to read the book to my husband. He readily accepted. We scheduled "reading time" each day, and the ritual provided intimate, private time together. We would sit close on the sofa or lie next to each other in bed, and I would read the book to him with full dramatization and expression. He would interrupt me to add his own commentary on Mantle's early years, and we conversed about sports in a new way. It was a wonderful and endearing experience for both of us. And not once did my husband fall asleep.

So, what I really know about reading is that you are never too old to be read to, and both the reader and the listener may get many gifts from this experience. My husband and I bonded during our reading times. We looked forward to our uninterrupted moments together sharing the life and times of Mickey Mantle. The lesson here is: Read to a grown-up! It's an interesting way to spend time, learn something and enjoy a closeness that reminds us of a gentler time.

You may also like: Retired teachers tutor kids. >>

Robin Shapiro is a reader from  Manahawkin, N.J

Your Turn! Tell us what you really know about New Year's resolutions. Email your essay of up to 400 words to Or mail it to "What I Really Know," AARP Bulletin, 601 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20049. Please include your name and a phone number or email address.

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