I love reading to my children. There is something truly magical about snuggling up next to my little ones with a good book in our hands. No matter how hectic things feel or how close to insanity I might have been driven during the day, story time brings a certain serenity to our house. It doesn't matter if my daughter has just dumped out an entire basket of newly folded laundry, or my son has just drawn with marker on the bathroom wall, or every puzzle on the shelf has just been dumped on to the floor. When I sit down to read with my children, the chaos of life just melts away. It is so, so nice. I think my children often feel the same way. I love feeling their little bodies relax as they lie next to me or sit on my lap while we read, and there is no doubt in my mind that reading brings us even closer in that moment. I love the way my daughter fits perfectly on my lap as we rock in her chair reading stories before bed, her soft, sweet-smelling head resting right under my chin, in perfect kissing distance. As I read and she turns the pages, I soak everything in, wishing I could capture and keep these moments of her childhood forever. I love watching my son get completely drawn into a story, anticipating what will happen with each turn of the page and noticing small details in the illustrations that I often miss. I love the questions he asks about new things he has learned, and the way he is sometimes able to connect stories we have read to things we do or see or experience in real life. I love the way he assumes the identity of some of his favorite story characters on a daily basis, going from Curious George to Tigger to Mudge and back to George in a single afternoon. And I have discovered that few things make me happier than seeing my children cuddled up on the couch reading a book together. I read to my children because I love moments like these. Sure, I read to them because I know of its myriad of educational benefits -- improved language acquisition and communication skills, increased vocabulary, higher academic performance, overall -- but to me, reading is so much more than that. Stories inspire endless imagination in our children, and I love being the narrator that helps set those playful, creative wheels in motion. I read to my children because I want them to feel inspired. Curious. Safe. Loved. Alive. I read to my children because I love books, and want them to grow up loving reading as much as I always have. I read to my children because books open doors to places and worlds we might otherwise never explore. But most of all, right here, right now, I read to my children because I love any excuse to snuggle up next to them and show them just how much I love them.