Read. Read. Read. As parents, we’ve all heard this advice from pediatricians since our children were born, and from teachers as our kids entered school. Minimally, we tried diligently to make time to read daily, at least before bedtime, but often it was an activity we reserved for “when there was time”. We knew reading with our children was important in helping them develop their language and speech skills, which in turn would help them to be more successful with academics as they progressed through the education system. But, do we realize that reading with our kids has other important effects?
Reading helps build stronger relationships, as the act of reading allows kids and caregivers to slow down, connect, and enjoy just being together with a common focus and direct attention on one another. Transitions and acclimations to new experiences, or changes in life, can be alleviated with reading by exposing kids to characters in stories who may be going through similar situations.
Engaging in reading provides the opportunity to increase and practice logical thinking skills by relating scenarios in stories to real-life experiences that have real causes and effects on real people. We live in a fastpaced world where it seems everyone is on the go, or expecting immediate gratification and success. Practicing slowing down to focus on a story, and ignoring other distractions, helps expand attention spans and the ability to process and retain information, which all assist in developing perseverance and problem solving skills.
Not only is reading a fun alternative to other forms of electronic entertainment, it’s a gateway to learning new information at any interest level, at any age. Reading is a fun way to connect with your child, demonstrate that learning can be fun, and it’s a life-long skill that can open doors throughout our lives. Even when your child is older, your model of being a reader is important in guiding their choices. Although you may not view having “time to read”, your time invested in reading today, will have compounded effects tomorrow. Give your child the gift of time, read.
Mrs. Joy Redmann