Parents pass on more than DNA to their kids; the love of reading most often springs directly from Mom and Dad.

There are many well-researched reasons to read to your children, from psychological development to bonding. But what it does best is pass down the love of reading to the next generation. In honour of Mother’s Day we  asked some moms to share their stories and tell us how they keep reading a family tradition.

Ailsa, 80

Ailsa aged 5- Mother's Day

Ailsa grew up in numerous small country towns in Australia. Her dad was a schoolteacher, a job she went on to do as well.  She has 3 children, and 4 grandchildren.

“I have an older sister and a twin brother, and we’ve always been around books. It’s just a joy to pass on that love of books to my children and grandchildren. Mum used to read Charles Dickens to us when we were at primary school, and before that we got lots of fairy books which, sadly, my twin brother didn’t enjoy so much.

My mum read to us when we were very little so I started as soon as my children could sit up.  We always had reading time at bedtime, and then whenever else we could squeeze it in. I remember we were always at the library when my children were young, usually bringing home some Golden Books like Scuffy the Tugboat, or things like that. We also read a lot of poetry. Poetry is important and needs to be started early. The kids loved it because the rhythm and rhyming really helped them understand the words.”

heather and kids -MothersDay

Heather, 52

Heather is a lawyer and works in community justice. She has 2 adult daughters.

“I started reading books to my girls well before they could understand them, mostly books with shapes and pictures. I certainly shared the reading load with my partner, and we would always read to the kids at bedtime, often with me falling asleep before they did!

I loved reading my children books where the girls were tough and feisty. I particularly liked books like the Eloise series that supplied good-ish role models with a nice balance between good behavior and being a bit naughty. I also remember that there was one book,  Is There Room in the Feather Bed,  that we all loved so much. It involved lots of animals and noises and I may be guilty of owing the library an enormous late fee for that book. I particularly loved the way the girls would put all their stuffed toys in the bed to act out the story.”

leo dr seuss - Mother's Day

Lisa, 39

Lisa is a marketing and communications professional who works in the education sector. She has a son age 3

“ I started reading to my son as soon as he was born. I love children’s books so I guess I was reading for me too, he got lots of Oliver Jeffers and Alice in Wonderland as a tiny baby. As he got older I chose picture books with one or two words per page, and now he chooses, so we get lots of Dr. Seuss, and unfortunately Thomas the Tank Engine… it’s a bit of chore to read over and over again!

Reading time is every night with mama or papa after bath time and just before sleep. It can go on for quite a while! He likes to sneak a book or two in in the morning as well. My favorite moments are when he starts to read the books to me. We read them so many times he memorises the words and he never lets me skip a page, even when it’s a very long book and one of us is very tired.”

Reading to children is a real joy, so to all the moms who let us stay up past our bedtimes to read us one more chapter, we’d like to say, thank you.