I remember reading when I was a child. I remember my mom reading to me and my brothers. I remember my dad reading Dr. Seuss Books with funny expressions, mostly reading the crazy phrases really quickly.
I have vivid memories of several books I read in grade school and junior high. Trapped was about a guy whose car had gone into a ravine; he survived on a bag of potatoes until he was rescued. I also remember loving Grizzly Adams and Old Yeller.
I appreciated the idea of books in high school, college and seminary, but didn’t really have much fun with it. After seminary, I rarely read a book for nearly ten years. Then after a season of coaching, I was challenged to read and I’ve been enjoying it since.
My current system is to read five to seven books per month, which I document in my phone to keep a record. The thoughts from these books are often a springboard to blog posts and ministry conversations. [here’s my list of books from last year]
I’m thankful that my wife and I have had an opportunity to pass along this skill and our love for reading to our kids. I picked up a small book (probably out of print by now) called Read To Me: Raising Kids Who Love To Read by Bernice Cullinan. It was a great book that described what parents with young children can do at each age level to promote and encourage reading.
Every parent has taught their kids to talk by talking and we can teach kids to read and love to read by reading to them.
As Cullinan says in her book, reading…
- Expands a child’s world
- Develops independence
- Stirs the imagination
- Establishes a life long reading habit
- Develops a commanding vocabulary
- Develops an understanding of other people
It’s important to read to young kids up to age 12. After that, reading aloud or listening to recorded books as a family can be entertaining, beneficial, and fun.
If you find it difficult to find time to read aloud, know that even a few minutes before bed can make a difference in the life of a child.
Kids who are read to:
- do better in school
- have a stronger self-esteem
- have more reading ability
- do better in social studies and math
- develop habits of reading over other digital media and entertainment
It’s not always an easy investment, but an important one for parent with young children. Start reading to your kids (or grandkids) today!
Some ideas to get started:
- Keep books handy.
- Go to a library book sale or flea market to find lots of different books for kids.
- Depending on the age of your child, pull up stories and riddles on your smartphone and read them aloud in short spurts.
- Read a book that’s interesting to you instead of watching a TV show. We recently read The Light and Glory Series out loud.
- Get books or articles about places you’re about to visit. Last year, before and after going to Colonial Williamsburg, we read about the American Revolution era. We’ve done the same thing before visiting Civil War sites, Lincoln sites, and Laura Ingalls Wilder homes. Attaching a visit with a book is really powerful.
- Talk about stories as you read.
- Read before bed; it’s a great habit with lifelong advantages.
- Choose books your kids are interested in.
- Have fun reading; use voice inflections, facial expressions and other ways to engage.
Read the Bible
The Bible contains many incredible stories and holds the words of life and faith. Don’t pass up the opportunity to find a good Children’s Bible to read to your children and then advance as they grow. Here’s the Children’s Bible we read to both of our kids every night when they were really young.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” – Frederick Douglass
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx
“There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” – Ray Bradbury
“To learn to read is to light a fire.” – Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
“Books train your mind to imagination to think big.” – Taylor Swift
“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison