Reading and beyond...
Why is reading to our kids so important??
Around 2001 Gary Chapman published a book discussing the five love languages we have as human beings. But I think he forgot one: Books.
It is not uncommon for my husband to go to the door to bring in an amazon package and say, “another book, Valerie.” Books speak to me. I might even have a shelf dedicated to books I haven’t read yet. There are only fourteen books on that shelf right now, two unread book on a side table, and two in my book bag. Please don’t send the guys with the white coat and buckles, it chafes.
All joking about my book addiction aside. Books are important, well maybe not so much books as reading is important.
When I went to research this idea of the benefits of reading, Google in its glory, came up with over 687 million results. The research is overwhelming, and the benefits of reading to our children is even more astounding. The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance says it this way. 'Books create warm emotional bonds between adults and kids when they read books together. Books help kids develop basic language skills and profoundly expand their vocabularies—much more than any other media. Books are interactive; they demand that kids think. Fiction and nonfiction books widen our consciousness.'
Research has shown, that at just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages. Guide your child by pointing to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating the words with both pictures and the real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language.
Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child's life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk.
Even after children learn to read by themselves, it's still important for you to read aloud together. By reading stories that are on their interest level, but beyond their reading level, you can stretch young readers' understanding and motivate them to improve their skills
At our house, I knew I wanted to instill a love of reading in my kiddos, and I made a secret promise to my kids. That no matter how busy I was, if they asked me to read them a book I would say ‘of course, I’d love to’. I would step away from the to do list, cuddle up and read. Luckily my kids haven’t figured out how to manipulate this one, yet. (I think the six-year-old is on the verge of figuring this out)
But I knew reading was important, not just for cognitive growth but also for the relationship between me and my boys. We could go on adventures together, cry together, and learn together through the words of a book. Great characters even give me examples on how to coach my kids through hard times.
My love of books and reading to my boys is what has led me to write Children’s books of my own. I know the market is flooded and there is a never-ending supply of books out there. But my boys and my nieces and nephews provide the motivation and drive to step out of my fears and place pieces of my heart in your hands.
You’ll hear more about my book in the coming months, but here is a teaser.