Benefits of Reading To Your Kids
We used to read to our boys all the time when they were little. It was a special time for each of us as parents to have a quiet time to connect with them. The rush and worries of the day were put aside and we all took the time to relax and recharge our batteries. And the boys loved it because we were giving them all of our attention and meeting their emotional needs. This simple act was a critical thing for us to do since we both worked full time jobs.
Much of what your child learns will come through reading. Whether you believe it or not, reading to your young child will help develop their vocabulary; social skills; ability to focus; basic communication and interpersonal skills; and best of all it fosters a healthy imagination. It brings you closer together and helps to create a positive attitude towards reading as they grow up. It opens up the door to improved communication between you and your children by teaching them how to listen and concentrate.
It builds their imagination. Don’t get into a rut where you are just blindly reading what is written. Pause and ask them questions. Have them make up new twists or endings; different dialog; characters; or situations for the storyline to adopt. This helps to develop early logic skills such as cause and effect of actions or words spoken. They can learn about consequences and the basics of what is right and wrong; good and evil.
Most of all make reading fun – It’s something they are going to be doing for the rest of their lives. I remember taking long road trips to visit the grandparents (in Florida). We would read large chapter books out loud while driving. Not only sharing a story or adventure but also keeping the boys minds occupied without the electronic or digital baby-sitters. Surprisingly the 12 hour trips would seem so much shorter and easier whenever we would read.
Here are some tips to help your child become an enthusiastic reader:
- Make sure reading is fun and not a stressful or purely educational experience.
- Make reading a habit by reading to them regularly and consistently – like at bedtime when you’re both relaxed.
- As they get older, change things up and ask them to read you a bedtime story.
- Don’t worry about reading the same story or book repeatedly. Our oldest son actually memorized stories and would catch me cheating or making new stuff up.
- Read a variety of books covering any possible topic.
- Respect the books physically. Make sure you keep them clean and in good condition.
- Keep books in their rooms. Let them “own” and have their personal library.
- Go to the local library and explore or just roam among the shelves. Hunt for treasures.
The most important thing you can do to develop their habit of reading and gaining all the life-long associated benefits, is to let them see you reading and enjoying books too. Your kids see what you do and will model their actions after yours.