I am in major support of reading to our children. My two children are more than aware of the importance Dad puts on literature. We do our weekly library trips in search of new reads. Every birthday, holiday and Christmas includes a new book from Dad. My children know, even when I am tired, upset or busy, I will stop to read them a story. I promote them flipping through picture books to pass the time. And when my son is sick from school I offer to read him a chapter book, ‘Princess Bride’ style.
The opportunity to slow our children down from their constant hustle, gives us as the parents a chance to connect. We lack the energy of keeping up with a weeks worth of running around in a day; or the imagination to avoid stepping in lava as cats shoot us with eyeball lasers. When we get the children to cuddle up in our laps, quietly captivated to our voices, they are on our playing field. And we share a connection, calming our children, teaching them valuable concentration skills.
This is especially true with our rambunctious, over the top, seriously she doesn’t stop, almost 4 year old, daughter Alex. It can seem impossible to get her to sit and listen, even to a questions she just asked. Yet, when story time arrives she will grab her book, run over, blurting something about biting a baby panda, then as if by magic, sit quietly through the story, cuddled up between Mom and Dad. There are many exceptions to this rule, as Alex is anything but predictable, but it’s the most average representation.
The developmental purposes of reading are numerous, from birth, it promotes a healthy knowledge and understanding. From basic rules of syntax to vocabulary and speech skills, children gather a lot of this information from early stages. Creating an aptitude for learning success for a life time. The stories we read them also encourage logical thinking, as they learn about cause and effect, or listen to a characters reasoning.
I have been witness to the positives, first hand, over the last year. With my son in kindergarten he has gone from learning the basics, to reading his first books. It is an amazing development to watch. Six nights a week I have given him ‘homework’. Which began with writing letters, to drawing pictures that start with a certain letter, to drawing certain things and telling me which letter they start with, to today where he can form full words. There has been struggles, and he has gotten more than a few lectures on how valuable reading and writing are. The point is he has gained the basics, and has learned about concentration and comprehension. It is a proud thing for a Dad who is a literature enthusiast, and I cannot wait to watch it all over again with Alex.
The millions of children’s stories all serve a purpose. They can assist in acclimatizing our kids through developmental stages. From losing teeth, to starting preschool and the all important potty training books. They are learning about the world, the human body, and people. Much empathy can be taught through character interactions. Strong communication between parent and child are built, as together we enjoy and are entertained through each unique book.
I love reading to my kids every night, it is not an event I like to miss and I look forward to (Not just because the kids go to bed after.). Still, to this day, my own bedtime routine ends with reading stories. Our children have gained an appreciation for literature through us and it feels amazing to know you have done something right and we may, after all, be pretty decent at this parenting thing.
Thanks booknerds, remember “it’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”