One of the most valuable things you can teach your children is the importance of reading. I started reading to my daughters as soon as they were born. Even then, they loved listening to the musical sound of my voice as I read Hop on Pop or Go Dog Go! It has always been a bedtime ritual – to snuggle up and read a few books together. As my daughter Lexi (8-years-old) got older she, not only enjoyed the fun, non-sensical, Dr. Suess-type of books, but she started to appreciate stories with meaning as well. At a very young age, probably around three or four, Lexi would request The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. She would ask us to read The Wizard of Oz, because she loved the movie so much. For her, reading painted a picture in her mind. The characters really came alive for her. Her love of reading has progressed, and now she enjoys reading chapter books such as the Junie B. and Nancy Drew series on her own. She gets caught up in the story, in the characters. She can easily get lost in a book. She’s done it. She’s discovered the joys of reading!
But, the importance of learning to love reading goes far beyond enjoyment. By reading to your children and with your children and encouraging them to read on their own, you are setting a foundation for a lifetime of learning and positive benefits. It could be one of the most important things you do for your children at a young age.
Reading sets the foundation for future academic achievement.
Children that enjoy reading are more likely to excel in school as well as in life. Reading is not just a form of entertainment. It’s a skill. Proficient readers are learning valuable language and listening skills, as well as boosting their analytical skills. Reading also helps increase your child’s attention span. Most academic subjects are based on reading. If children are having a hard time grasping what they are reading, then they may have difficulty understanding the subject. So encouraging reading might help with future academic success.
Reading helps develop a child’s natural curiosity.
The great thing about reading is that it can help foster your child’s curiosity. It’s very important that children read books that they enjoy. Yes, they will often have required reading in school. But, whenever you can, you should allow your children to read books that interest them. It will open up a whole new world for them. Teach them how wonderful it can be to travel to distant lands, go on a wild adventure, or learn about an inspiring person, all when they get lost in a book. So whether they interested in cars, science fiction, or something fun, let your children choose their own books. They will be more likely to pick up a book and read just for the pleasure of it.
Reading increases vocabulary.
When children encounter words that they don’t know, it forces them to look at those words and try to decipher the meaning based on the context clues. This is an important skill, as they will be able to communicate better. Being able to find the words to convey how they feel is important. When children are able to express themselves, they are more confident. They will also be more successful in life.
Reading also improves writing skills.
Because reading increase vocabulary as well as critical thinking skills, it makes sense that it also improves writing skills. Reading different types of literature increases and improves your general knowledge of different subjects, allowing you to be more creative, which can improve your writing ability. This is one of the reasons children are required to read the Classics in school. Difficult reading requires advanced critical thinking skills, skills that are also necessary to excel in writing.
Reading is an important and invaluable gift that you can give to your children. Help them to discover a love of reading. You should also become a reading role model. Let you children catch you as you are immersed in a good book. Showing them that you also enjoy reading encourages them to pick up a book by themselves. If they think of reading as a task, they will be less likely to do it on their own. Help your children to discover the joys of reading and open up a whole new world for them.