Obviously there are myriads of reasons we should read with our children. Today I give you my
top 13 reasons.
Why read with your babe?
(1) Even an infant who can barely sit up can develop an interest in books. It is never too early to get them loving literature!
(2) Reading to your baby can help them improve their attention span from an early age. If you have read to your child since he was a baby, chances are, by the time he is a toddler he will be able to sit on your lap and hear stories for hours on end. He'll also do great at your local library's story time. (Note: I know all children are different and some have naturally better 'sitting still' skills than others! But I think we can often improve that if we start early enough.)
Why read with your toddler or preschooler?
(3) They are sponges! They are so capable of learning and understanding and memorizing and recalling. This is such a critical time to teach children to realize how much books teach and the magical worlds that books open.
(4) Experiencing reading with their parents gives toddlers and preschoolers an understanding of the basic reading skills like which way to hold and open a book, reading left to right, top to bottom, etc. You would be surprised how many kindergarten students are handed a book in an assessment and don't have a grasp on these basic concepts.
(5) Even a 2-year-old can begin to master letter and word recognition. Obviously this is one of the critical beginning steps in learning to read. It's a basic principle of exposure. The more they see it, the more they recognize and understand.
(6)The more stories they hear, the more their imagination is fueled. One of the most rewarding things in my life is hearing my 3-year-old acting out a story we have recently read together.
Why read with your elementary-school-aged child?
(7,8) As you read with your children after school they see that it is important to you and you reinforce the skills being taught in school.
(9) In addition to listening to your child read, you should read to him. This way you are modeling correct pronunciation, pace, expression, etc.
(10) Listening to your children read helps you assess where they are and what they need practice with. No matter how much a teacher works with your child at school, your help is a must!
(11) The most fun benefit--reading together is great for family bonding!!
Why read with your tween or teen?
I know what you're thinking. "Seriously? I'm supposed to read aloud with my teenager?" Yes! Obviously you know your child and whether this would work or not, but I think you might be surprised. Here are some reasons I think you should try:(12) Again, bonding. When I was going through some awkward and difficult times in my early teens, my mother would come snuggle up to be before bed and we would read together.
This brought me comfort and solidified my relationship with my mother in a time when I wasn't sure who I was or who my friends were.
(13) YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE MARKETING AS JUVENILE LIT!! Even in all bold caps I cannot state this with enough passion! Let me be frank. There are some extremely powerful people in the literary world who are trying to push boundaries on what is appropriate reading material for your teens. A couple of years ago there was a book that won a very distinguished award, and was being sold in the children's section of major bookstores, that contained extremely vulgar language and graphic sexual images. You need to know what your children are reading! Read with them!
A couple of days ago, after a whole summer of traveling, hosting family company, and throwing any sort of routine to the wind, I sat down with my 3-year-old, Blaine, and asked him to choose some books to read. A horrifying thought struck me. "I can't remember the last day that Blaine and I read together." I knew it was time for a fresh start. I hope you will plan a time each day to read with your children. I know your days are full and busy, just like mine, but reading is about as important as it gets. And it's so enjoyable! Revel in the magic together.
And now...one of you lucky readers can get a little boost to your children's library. Leave a comment for a chance to win a package of 5 classic hardback picture books. Let us know if you put our button on your blog, and we'll give you a second entry in the giveaway!