Despite the tech savviness of today’s youth, great books still lay a solid foundation in education and play an important role in childhood. As much as I embrace social media and technology, I find myself wondering how to create a balance between providing time to enjoy good literature versus tinkering with tech.
Setting aside a family story time provides many benefits to our children.
1. Learning Success
Reading to children helps them build a solid foundation for learning success. When we read to our kids, they listen to our pronunciation and inflection which model solid reading and aid in their comprehension.
Growing up, I always looked forward to my school librarian reading to our first grade class. She made it fun with various voices: her funny voice, her deep voice, and her squeaky mouse voice—all which kept me on edge with each turned page. Today, when I read to my own children, I try to remember to use voice inflections and make it fun.
Not only do stories build imagination and strengthen thinking skills, but a study from the Perspectives on Psychological Science has also proven that interactive reading with our children may boost language development and result in a boost of the child’s IQ by over 6 points.
2. Knowledge of the World and History
Reading to children teaches them about the world around them—both past and present. Looking around, our kids likely see people from different cultures and backgrounds represented in our communities. At some point, our kids have probably even met or interacted with others from different religious or cultural backgrounds.
Reading to them gives them an opportunity to ask questions about the world around them. They will learn about people, places, traditions, history, and even science. Whatever their interest, kids have the opportunity to dig in and learn more about their world through books. As you read to them, you’ll have the chance to share with them how the world works.
3. Family Communication
Reading to children increases your communication with them. I appreciate the moments I read to my kids because it opens a new line of communication between us. While I’m reading a book, they’re asking questions about the content, or simply snuggling next to me contentedly. In our busy world, life can soon become full of activities and extracurriculars, but when we’re sitting down to read, everyone is suddenly still and I’ve captured their attention.
I connect with my tween daughter more when we read together because the books inspire mother-daughter chats. My younger child delights in the adventure of wondering what happens next in our chapter books. These are precious moments, worth clinging to.
Every time my child has a question, a thought, a comment, or opinion to share with me because of a book we’ve read together, I am grateful for the blessing that books brings into our relationship: an open line of communication.
Social media, gaming, and apps will always be waiting for our kids, but in order to make time for family reading, being intentional is key. No matter how busy life gets, I encourage you to take a few moments to pick out a good book, sit down with your child a few times a week, and read for a bit. You’ll be glad you did.