One of my fondest memories as a child is sitting on our living room floor, building with Lincoln Logs while my mom or dad read aloud to us.
We read a variety of books, from biographies of Amy Carmichael, George Muller, Gladys Alyward, Rosalind and Jonathan Goforth and C.T. Studd to The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Anne of Green Gables and The Little House series.
I even recall that before we took a long road trip from Washington State to Montana my mom went to our local library and checked out about a dozen chapter books to read while dad drove.
She’d read until her voice was tired and husky.
Then she always stopped at the most exciting part!
My mom had a knack for this. She had years of practice in Sunday School telling Sunday School Charlie stories that always seemed to halt at the most crucial part of the story, leaving kids hanging “until next week…”
Actually, this is how she fostered in us a love for reading.
She would read The Boxcar Children books to us and as soon as she reached a part when the kids were danger, she’d stop, look at us, and say, “Now, if you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to read it on your own.”
It was always so much funner when mom read!
But an insatiable desire to know how The Boxcar Children escaped mortal danger drove us to grab the book and eagerly read how the story turned out. And to this day we are all avid readers.
In fact, my husband teases me about my shelves and shelves of books, 98% of which I’ve read. I’m still working through the remaining 2%. The good part of having a Kindle (okay, I have a Kindle and a Kindle app) is that I can collect books without him teasing me!
I may or may not be a book hoarder! I blame it on my mom.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
But I want my kids to have this same good habit of loving books.
Reading to your children is so important. We don’t need any scientific studies to prove that reading to your child is better for him or her than screen time. I think that’s just good logic.
But in case we need to have a reason to read to our children, here are 5 reasons your child needs you to read to him or her.
1. It helps you and your child bond. In those early years while your child is developing, letting your child sit on your lap while you read to him colorful books helps you and your child to bond. What better way to bond through play than through reading. And what child doesn’t love a goodnight story?
2. It helps to increase their vocabulary. By repeatedly listening to their favorite book over and over, they begin to pick up words and phrases. As they hear more of these words and phrases, and connect them to your everyday conversation, their vocabulary continues to expand.
3. It helps to grow their imagination. Whether it is a fun adventure with a train, or Clifford’s escapades; the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder or an adventurous mystery; while a child listens to you read, they will imagine in their mind the events taking place. And imagination in a child is a healthy and powerful tool!
4. It helps develop a love for reading. If your child is a beginner reader, engage them in an exciting book, and just when you’ve got them hooked, stop and tell them to finish reading it to find out how the story ends. Soon, you’ll see your child picking up books all on his own to enter an exciting land of adventure that no TV can replace!
5. It helps in academic growth. I think it goes without saying that a child who reads well will also do well in school. That’s not to say that children who don’t particularly enjoy reading are poor students, because each child learns differently, but knowing how to read well is essential to learning no matter the learning style.
I challenge you this week to replace 15 minutes of screen time with book time.
Grab a stack of books and sit down together and read. Your children will love it and you will be making fun memories. Plus, you’ll know you’re making a positive change in the life of your child by giving him or her valuable tools they will need later on in life!
This post is day 10 of the series: 31 Days of Screen Free Activities for Kids. To see all of the posts in this series visit this page.