Did you grow up loving to read? If so, chances are that love was encouraged by the adults in your life: parents, teachers and others who introduced you to books. My mother read to me from a very early age. She says that I had memorized “The Night Before Christmas” by the time I was three, because she read it to me so many times!
Books were and are an important part of my life from an early age. My parents read to me and encouraged me to read. We always had books around, and I read everything I could get my hands on. When I babysat for some neighbor children, they would bring out a stack of books two or three feet high, and we would work through the stack, reading as many books as we could before they fell asleep. (You might be surprised at how many books that was in a typical evening.) As writers, we should develop that same love of reading in our children.
Cultivating a love of reading is one of the most valuable things we can do for children. Reading brings benefits that last a lifetime, and you can start reading to your child right from birth, or even before birth!
How does your child benefit from being read to, when they are yet too young to read or even speak?
It Promotes a Love of Reading
Children love to hear stories. Reading to them is a pleasurable activity you can share, and they will associate those good times with books and reading. When your child starts learning to read, encourage him to read to you, too.
It Creates Happy Memories
The little moments, spending special time with a parent or grandparent, are often among our most treasured memories. Create those happy memories for your child by making reading time a special time. Sit together on the sofa or in a comfortable chair. Read to them after tucking them in at bedtime.
It Creates the Reading Habit
When you read to your children on a regular basis, and they see you reading as well, you lay the foundation for a reading habit that can last a lifetime. Make reading a part of your daily routine to make reading a normal part of your child’s day.
It Fosters Creativity
Reading takes us to new places and allows us to experience things that are different from our daily reality. Choose imaginative and exciting books to encourage your child to use her imagination and be creative.
It Enhances Your Child’s Language Skills
Reading to your children from the time they are born (or perhaps even before) improves their language skills, even if they are not yet talking. Children learn to speak from hearing speech. When they hear well-formed sentences and a variety of words, they will absorb important grammar and vocabulary lessons.
It Encourages Critical Thinking
As your child learns to talk, discuss the stories you are reading with them. Ask questions as your read and discuss what you read after you finish. Ask them to recount the story in their own words. Talk about any lessons learned from the story.
Read to your children from the time they are born and you can create a love of books and reading that will last a lifetime. They may even grow up to be writers!