Reading is, in my opinion, one of life’s luxuries. Unfortunately, in recent years I haven’t been able to read as much as I would like. However, reading is still important for me as an adult and even more important in the development and maturation of children. Reading books helps children develop an imagination, learn to handle difficult situations, observe good and bad behaviors, learn creativity etc.
Reading with children of all ages is a wonderful thing for a parent to do because children understand and feel love through actions. If you ask a child how he knows that his mom loves him, he will say he knows his mother loves him because she plays with him, she makes his lunch, she takes him to soccer practice, she reads to him, she bakes him cookies, etc. Ask your child and see what he or she says. A child understands love through the time that we spend with them and the sacrifices we make for them. Verbal expressions of love are not as easy to understand for children, although the verbal expression of love is very important. To a child, reading with a parent creates a sense of belonging, security, and love. Being together doing something you both are enjoying is the best way to develop a relationship of love, trust, and friendship.
Another benefit to reading with children is obviously academic. Children need to be read to at home because they will never get enough attention and help at school. Schools are far to overcrowded and busy for each child to learn everything they need to know at school. Parents must be involved with the education of their children, especially reading because it is so fundamental to everything else we do throughout our lives. I suggest being very familiar with your child’s teachers, especially at the grade school level. Go to your child’s teacher, pick up the books that they are working on in class, and bring them home to work on reading them together. You will always be more interested in the education of your child than his teacher because your child belongs to you. Get in the habit of reading every day together. Take turns reading so you can hear if your child is struggling and so your child can hear the sound of words being read correctly.
Reading also increases a child’s vocabulary. Encourage your children to read books that are challenging for them, with words that they don’t necessarily understand. Take time to look up new definitions. Children have the ability to pick up new information much more quickly than adults. Help them to fill their brains with new knowledge while they are so easily able to soak it up. Reading helps children in so many ways. Click this link http://www.purdue.edu/UNS/html4ever/2005/050718.T-May.reading.html to read an interesting article about the many benefits that accompany being a strong reader.
Books can also help parents deal with problems. If your child is struggling with doing her chores, being kind to siblings, going to bed on time, eating his dinner, etc. there are stories about other children or animals who are having these struggles. These books end with the character learning a lesson and changing their behavior. Books teach valuable lessons, and sometimes a child will learn something from a book that they are not willing to learn from you.
As parents, we have to remember that children experience time much differently than we do. To a child, time passes very slowly. Remember when you were a child and summer vacation seemed to last forever? Time flies for us now, but a child’s clock runs much more slowly. Be patient with your child and go at his or her pace. Let your child ask questions about what is being read and take time to give meaningful answers. When your child gets older, he or she won’t always be so eager to listen to you…take advantage of the time you have when they are young to use reading as a teaching tool.
As I started out saying, I love to read and it is so important that our children see us reading. Oddly enough, a father has a greater influence on a child’s desire to read than a mother. Encourage your husband to be seen reading so he can transmit that hobby to your children. Mothers are important as well. Take your children to the library and perhaps buy them books instead of toys for birthdays and Christmas. Books will remain entertaining their whole lives while a toy is only fun for a few days or until it’s broken, whichever comes first. Help your children build up their own library when they are young by noticing the types of books they enjoy and giving them as gifts.
Finally, encourage your children to read but always be aware what they are reading. Books have a powerful ability to influence our thoughts and behaviors. Make sure your children are reading books with wholesome story lines and stimulating, not degrading, vocabulary.
If you aren’t in the habit of reading, start now. Be aware of your child’s reading abilities and help him or her to improve and enjoy reading. Doing this for your children is one of the greatest gifts you can give.