Why Read to Your Children?
Books can take you anywhere. They can take you to distant lands, other worlds, on great adventures, and teach us new lessons. Reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. In the beginning it is us, as parents, reading to them. Then as they grow older they carry on reading to themselves. Instilling a love of books in your child will help them become more knowledgeable, more creative, and do better in school.
I love books and researching since I was a little child. I didn’t really have anyone encouraging me besides my older brothers in an off handed sort of way. They all played Dungeons and Dragons and read fantasy books. Whenever I was bored they would go tell me to read. I found a sense of freedom with books. I could dive into adventures, solve mysteries, and learn anything I wanted to. I remember as a young girl I loved Encyclopedia Brown choose your own adventure books and Sweet Valley Twin/High books best. I branched out into more educational such as history and science as I got into middle school. As an adult I still read a lot. Mostly research studies, astronomy, mythology, sci-fi adventure, and so forth. The point is though, I learned to love reading. I learned to thirst for more knowledge. I learned.
When my two oldest children were little I would read to them. The most memorable was when Harry Potter came out. Every book release we were at the bookstore taking part in the party and patiently waiting to get the new copy. Then we would cuddle up on the couch everyday and I would read out-loud at least one chapter a day. This is a memory that both still carry happily, vividly, and instilled my same love of reading. My son will be 22 this year and my daughter will be 20. Both of the turned into lifelong books worms. They love to read, even though today’s books are more e-books then paperback lol.
A study was recently done showing that children who are read to, and encouraged to read, do better academically in school. They are more focused, able to understand more complex ideas, acquire better language skills, and a love for learning. Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do for them. No matter what your social/ economic background may be. Instilling that love of reading will not only help them in school, but also opening up all sorts of career paths for them as they turn into adults. You can help them create that thirst for knowledge that will open up a whole new world for them and it only costs you 30 mins to an hour a day of your time.
With the triplets, we read everyday. During the day we read books that have more pictures in them, but at night they get Harry Potter. No matter what may go on, no matter where we may be (like lake house weekends) I always read to them as they are going to sleep. I happen to like the Harry Potter series for many many reasons and one of them being, it is what really fueled my older children love of reading. They are only 4 1/2 years old so a lot of the content is above them, plus they fall asleep at different times and I only stop when everyone is asleep. It doesn’t matter though. They look forward to me reading to them every night. They talk about some of the things in the books and they expect me to read about Harry Potter’s adventures every night.
Every night they get in pajamas, every night they get tucked into bed, and every night I read them Harry Potter with my husband’s trusty flashlight.
No matter what your financial situation, no matter where you come from, you can change everything for your child by just giving them a little bit of your time. You can read to them anytime but I find it works great for bedtime. There are no pictures for them to want to look at. Sometimes I only read a few pages before they drift off, and sometimes it has been two chapters. It’s just the point that your reading.
You don’t have any books you feel are good? Hit the library, look on the internet, go to a half price book store, whatever it takes. Whatever will work for you.
Now the flip side of this coin: Children who don’t get read to, and in homes where books where not highly valued, often struggle more with school, learning, and tend to stay on the lower social/ economic scale as adults. This isn’t just some study stating this, I have seen it first hand with some of my eldest daughter’s friends growing up and now. It is such a drastic difference in how they interact with others, vocabulary, and even ambition.
Some may disagree with me, and that’s their choice, but this is all based on what I have observed first hand. The studies only prove the point more. There are many out there, just Google “Studies Reading to children.”
It’s something to think about and really consider starting in your household on a daily basis if you don’t already. Life gets crazy, especially with multiples, but if nothing else, bedtime is a great place to start. If you think about it you already have a “routine” for bed, just extend it a little.