Reassured, we left their bedroom without understanding-- or wanting to admit-- that what a child learns first isn't the act but the gestures that accompany the act. And although it may also help them learn, this ostentatious show of reading is primarily intended to reassure them and please us.
We human beings build houses because we're alive, but we write books because we're mortal. We live in groups because we're sociable, but we read because we know we're alone. Reading offers a kind of companionship that takes no one's place, but that no one can replace either.
Rather than allowing a book's intelligence to speak through our mouths, we replace it with our own intelligence as we talk about it. Rather than acting as emissary for the book, we become guardians of the temple, boasting of its wonders in the very words that slam shut it's doors: Reading matters! Reading matters!