We all know that reading to our kids is important. But do we know why? Here are ten important reasons to read to your children, no matter what their age.

1. Children who are read to consistently by their parents often begin reading earlier than their peers. You can begin reading to your children from birth. The more you read, the more familiar with books and words they will be. They will learn basics, like which direction to turn the pages, at a surprisingly young age if they are exposed to books early. This quickly leads to familiarity with the alphabet and lays the groundwork for letter and word recognition.

2. Reading time is great bonding time. Time spent sharing books with your children is perfect snuggle time. Your children will delight in this special closeness and you will delight in their reactions at the stories and pictures.

3. Reading to your children gives you an inside look at what they are interested in. When children are little, the parents often pick the books that will be read. But, as children get older, they develop their own distinct preferences. From the time babies become verbal, they will start requesting a particular, favorite book. The older a child, the more specific the book requests become. A seven year old will often like books by a particular author or books that follow a particular theme. A toddler who likes dogs will often request that the same book about dogs be read over and over. This is a great way to indulge and support your children’s interests.

4. Children who are read to develop a love of reading. A love of reading is a life long gift to give to your children. The pleasure of getting lost in a good book is something that children can experience with their parents at a young age. As they get older, they will enjoy reading more and more on their own, especially when enticed by books with favorite themes. But they will still enjoy sharing a book with their parents.

5. Following a character’s actions in a story helps develop problem solving skills. Children are just learning about the world they live in. They are beginning to learn that their actions have consequences. Story book characters can help children test these sometimes confusing waters without actually having to go through the trial and error on their own. The next time a child is confronted with a situation that is similar to one in a story that has been read to him, he will know that he has options.

6. Reading to children helps to develop their imaginations. Having a healthy imagination helps children in their very important work of play. Stories will add fuel to the fire of an already active imagination. Children will play out stories and enjoy pretending they are their favorite story book characters.

7. Children’s emotions are easily validated through story reading. Emotions are a confusing topic in many homes. Many of us learned to repress our emotions when we were children, especially our negative ones. Sharing stories about characters who have the same emotions as our children lets them know their feelings are normal. Children can also learn how to express those emotions in healthy ways by learning from the characters in a story.

8. Sharing stories about controversial or difficult topics is a good way to launch a conversation with your older child or teen. Topics ranging from race relations to drug issues can be some of the most difficult things to discuss with a child. Many parents don’t know how to start. Books are a great springboard for conversations. You can get your view point across to your child without coming off as preachy by simply reading an interesting book that teaches what you want to teach. Conversations can be started based on a chara

cter’s words or actions. Teens can be asked why they thought the character did the right thing, or maybe didn’t do or say the right thing.

9. Reading to a child teaches a healthy coping strategy. Life can be tough. Sometimes we feel like we need to escape. By introducing your children to books, you teach them that there is somewhere to go when their mind needs a rest from the daily struggles that can sometimes overwhelm them. Many in our society find drugs, alcohol and other vices ready and waiting when an escape is needed. Teach your children to turn to books when stressed. Books are a source of information and a source of comfort, as well as an escape.

10. Children will pass on the love of reading to their children if they have been read to. Children live what they learn. The best gift you can give them is a love of reading. They will be more likely to share reading with their own children if you read to them. So, think of it as the one gift that truly does keep on giving.

Article by: Barb Hacker

November 09, 2018 by Lindsay Woolf

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