The Greatest Gift of the Invisible Toolbox, or Why We Really Read

If your family is feeling anxious and adrift in these uncertain times, a nightly read-aloud ritual can bring enormous comfort, not only to your children, but to you too.

Below is an excerpt from Kim Dickson, author of The Invisible Toolbox.

Reading aloud nurtures the parent-child connection. When reading aloud is part of a daily family routine it provides a steady point of connection both parent and child can look forward to and count on. Practicing this daily ritual communicates not only that reading is important, but that the child is important. Snuggling and cuddling up together with a book creates feelings of warmth and can even provide a bit of an oasis from daily pressures and burdens. 

My son’s father and I divorced when he was quite young and our nightly story-time ritual meant a great deal to us both during those difficult days. One winter evening an old friend of mine from high school was visiting from out of town. After dinner and his bath my son, who was about five, trotted downstairs in his footed blue pjs, a book tucked under his arm. He marched right over to my friend who had settled into a rocking chair by the fire, and politely instructed her that she would have to move. A bit startled, she asked why.

“Because my mom and I have to toast our toes by the fire,” he answered matter-of-factly. 

‘Toasting our toes by the fire’ was code for our nightly ritual of snuggling up in the rocker by the fireplace and reading together. My son was not about to let anything or anyone interfere with this. Our daily ritual was such a source of comfort and security for him that even the novelty of having overnight company paled next to this important routine. The warmth and closeness of cuddling together with a book at the end of a long day meant just as much to me….”


The Invisible Toolbox

The Invisible Toolbox

The Power of Reading to Your Child from Birth to Adolescence

Longtime elementary school teacher Kim Jocelyn Dickson believes every child begins kindergarten with a lunchbox in one hand and an “invisible toolbox” in the other. In The Invisible Toolbox, Kim shares with parents the single most important thing they can do to foster their child’s future learning potential and nurture the parent-child bond that is the foundation for a child’s motivation to learn. She is convinced that the simple act of reading aloud has a far-reaching impact that few of us fully understand and that our recent, nearly universal saturation in technology has further clouded its importance.

Scroll to Top