My friend Kelly is a reader, as you know from reading this blog. Kelly loves books, and she is hard at work inspiring her children with that same love for reading and learning. One of the best ways to do that is, of course, by setting the example. Your kids need to see you reading. They need to see you carrying a book to read during wait times at the dentist’s office or music lessons. They need to see you picking up a book before turning on the TV. And they need to enjoy hearing your voice as you read aloud to them.
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I have a mother who read to me.”
~Strickland W. Gillilan
I loved reading to my children even up through their high school years–for as long as we could! The memories are priceless. It’s an investment of time that is so well spent, and the pay off is forever reaping dividends. Check out the eight great benefits below.
- Reading aloud builds a better foundation. When you read aloud, you lay the foundation for a lifelong interest (even addiction!) to reading. This works on two fronts. Not only are you getting your children interested in a story, you are getting them interested in you. What makes you laugh? Or cry? Why do you like certain characters, and why do you not like others?
- Reading aloud builds a better reader. Studies have shown that children whose parents read aloud to them become better students. They are stronger readers, which leads to a better performance in school.
- Reading aloud builds a better speaker. When you read to kids, you’re not just entertaining them. You’re helping them with language and speech development. You’re introducing them to new words that don’t come up in everyday conversations—and increasing their vocabulary.
- Reading aloud builds a better listener. When you begin reading to young children, you’re taking the initiative in preparing them for school, where they will need to know how to listen to what is being said to them. Children learn they must listen closely, or they miss a lot of “good parts” of the story—and they will miss important lessons academically if they can’t learn to sit still and focus.
- Reading aloud builds a better writer. Reading to older children helps them understand grammar and correct sentence structure. It helps them appreciate the craft behind creating a book that captivates an audience.
- Reading aloud builds better bridges. Reading time becomes an opportunity for bonding together as a family. Not only are you giving the kids the attention they crave (no phones, please!), but you’re providing opportunities for one-on-one communication and opening the way for discussions that would never happen otherwise.
- Reading aloud builds a better imagination. Curiosity is pricked, creativity is promoted, and imagination is provoked with a story that conjures up pictures and places in a child’s mind. Unlike a movie or TV show, kids must rely on their own unique interpretation of characters and scenes in a story read aloud to them.
- Reading aloud builds a more confident child. Reading aloud exposes your child to new situations, cultures, and characters. When they learn how a character acted in a certain environment, and they “walk through” that experience with them, it helps them learn appropriate behavior, and it helps them learn to recognize inappropriate behavior. This gives them a baseline for new experiences in their own lives, making them feel more confident and prepared to navigate uncharted territory.
Today’s families are going in so many different directions. There is precious little time that is actually shared together. We’re separated by different rooms, isolated by hand-held screens, and divided by our own interests. Reading aloud provides common ground, a place where families can gather and be, quite literally, on the same page.
Article by Faithful Provisions contributor Rebecca Ingram Powell.