The pursuit of the American Dream is the driving force behind parents who guide their children — through education, a strong work ethic, and the development of marketable skills — towards a life of upward mobility and self-actualization.
Feeling safe and loved is important to a child’s emotional development. Learning to read and write well is key to improving a child’s opportunities in life.
Part I of this post lists some of the benefits of reading regularly in a broad range of subjects and authors. Part II will focus on ways to help children develop powerful writing skills.
- Reading improves attention span. Sitting quietly while reading helps kids learn to focus. The longer they do it, the better they get at it.
- Reading improves vocabulary and language skills. Children learn new words and to use language effectively when writing and speaking.
- Reading exercises the brain, building and strengthening brain connections.
- Reading helps children develop their imagination. An engaging story can transport us to a world of sights, sounds, and experiences as we form mental pictures and imagine what it would be like to be a part of it all.
- Reading teaches kids about the world around them. My love of travel and learning about other cultures came from reading as a child about all the wonderful places and cultures on the planet; I couldn’t wait to grow up and see all those beautiful destinations in person.
- Reading helps children become kind, considerate human beings. For example, by choosing age-appropriate books and modeling the ability to know how someone else feels (to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’), children learn empathy.
- Reading is a great way to bond with your family. Read to your children. Read together. Have your child read to you. I remember once, when the power went out, my 11-yr.-old niece and I cuddled up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate, reading together by the light of an old oil lantern. To this day, we cherish the memory of our time together, reading and cuddling, and sipping hot chocolate (smile).
- Reading helps kids make connections between the characters and situations in the book and common threads from their own lives. Strengthen comprehension skills by discussing important moments in the story. For instance, when the hero of the story makes a questionable choice, ask your child what they might do if found in a similar situation. When a character achieves success (like using the potty for the first time or learning to do something that was challenging at first), celebrate that character’s success, just as you would when your child needs support or acknowledgment.
- Good readers tend to do better in school across the board.
- Reading is fun! When reading a bedtime story (even if it’s for the 150th time…lol!), read it with gusto, making the experience fun and engaging. Experiment with using different voices for some of the characters (silly ones go over well with little ones). I find younger kids love it when you make a bit of a show of it — like reading a script for a children’s play. A bit ‘over-the-top’ can make reading together a real hoot.
So there you have it — 10 reasons to create a regular reading habit for and with your children. Be sure to let your child help choose the books they want to read. Encourage them to explore varied topics and authors. And don’t forget to have fun!