Monday, November 5, 2012

Why You Should Read To Your Children

One common thing I hear from parents today is that they wish their children would read more. If you consider that quite a few kids spend more time holding a video game controller in their hands than a book or a ball, it's no wonder. There are so many things that we used to do as children that our kids don't seem to be interested in. Well, it doesn't have to be that way. There are things we can do when our children are young that can instill in them the love of reading that we had growing up. Well, that I had, anyway. One of the best ways to get kids to love reading is to read to them. Here are but a few of the many benefits reading to your children can have!

For one thing, it can help your children learn to read faster. If they can see the words you are reading to them at the same time they are hearing them, they begin to learn the connection between the written and the spoken parts of language. As time goes on, they can see what letters correspond to what sounds they hear from you, how words are arranged into a sentence and how they can better express what they mean. Children who are read to tend to have larger vocabularies and better comprehension skills than their peers who aren't. This can give them a big advantage in school, because they will be that much faster in grasping what the teacher is saying to them.

Another good thing about reading to your children is that it can expose them to various genres of literature. Most of us don't go around speaking in poetry or song, but these writing styles are very useful in learning how to read different kinds of stories. They can introduce your children to the different nuances that are present in the written language, but not always in the spoken language-words that sound the same but mean different things, learning the meaning of a word based on its context, etc. They can also see how sentence structure differs between written and spoken language, which will help them read and understand things better in school. They will become better spoken, as well as better read.

It can show them that reading can be fun. Remember those bedtime stories your grandma would read to you at bedtime? As time went on, you began to associate the book with the story and would try to read it on your own because you liked the story so much. That's what I did, anyway. This still holds true today. By reading to your children, you show them that TV and movies aren't the only way to have fun or hear interesting stories. Reading to children also tends to enhance their attention span and give them more reason to focus on one thing rather than letting their minds wander. If they don't pay attention, they'll miss the funny parts of the story, and they would hate that! Reading can also help expand their imaginations because the written words inspire them to create mental pictures rather than just seeing the ones on TV. I remember how much fun it was to imagine what the fairy-tale princesses looked like and how the villains' voices sounded.

Finally, reading to your children is a good way to reinforce the bond between the two of you. When I would read to my nephew, I would put a lot of inflection into the stories to keep his attention and make him laugh. Doing funny voices and listening to him try to imitate the voices was a lot of fun, and it made him want to go see me because he had fun with me. He's an adult now and lives far away, but I still remember how much he and I both enjoyed reading The Monster At The End Of This Book!

As you can see, there are a lot of advantages to reading to your children. You can instill in them the love of reading and give them stronger language skills, a longer attention span and a stronger imagination. The fact that it can be a lot of fun is just a side bonus! It's great to open a children's book we used to love and get a chance to be a kid again!

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Reading is one of the best things you can do with your child. It will do wonders for them. Every parent should do it!