Every family is busy and the convenience of TV, Netflix and YouTube make it very easy to move away from the age-old tradition of reading with our children. Books open up a wonderful world of imagination, creativity and discovery. If you are anything like me, once your children start to read it is very easy to leave reading up to them! But it is so important to continue to read with our children as they grow—modelling good reading, sharing wonderful learning experiences and spending quality time with our children. Here are a few good reasons to read with and to your children.
1. Reading to children sets them up to succeed
The more you read to your children, the more knowledge they absorb, and knowledge is important in all aspects of life. It is important that children learn to follow words across the page from left to right, and to turn pages, which are pre-reading skills that benefit children and help them to become better readers later on.
Children who enjoy reading often do better in school across the board.
2. Reading helps develop important language skills
While you may speak with your children every day, the vocabulary you use is often limited and repetitive. Reading books ensures that your child is exposed to vocabulary on different topics, which means they hear unusual words or phrases which they may not hear regularly otherwise.
3. Exposure to reading exercises your child’s brain and enhances concentration
Reading to young children affects their brain activity and may just give them that boost they need to support and promote their early reading skills. Regularly reading to your child even helps them learn to concentrate and sit still for longer periods of time.
4. Reading together encourages a thirst for knowledge
Reading to your children leads to questions about the book and the information within. It gives you a chance to speak about what is happening and use it as a learning experience. This provides wonderful opportunities to explore what God has to say on a whole range of topics or ideas that might not come up in everyday conversation.
5. Reading develops a child’s imagination and creativity
One of the great benefits of reading with children is watching their growing imaginations. When we really engage in a book we imagine what the characters are doing.
6. Reading books with children helps to develop empathy
Reading even helps children to develop empathy, as they imagine themselves in the story. They identify with characters, and they feel what they are feeling. Children begin to understand and relate to emotions.
Carefully selecting books at certain times can provide wonderful opportunities to speak into different issues your child may be experiencing at school, in friendship groups or in the family context.
Why not set aside some time each day or week to read with your children?