The Benefit of Books
by SM Ford
Most of us want our children to succeed in life and we know much of their success depends on how well they do in school.
There’s one easy step to help your child—read aloud. Start when she is a baby. Keep on through preschool, kindergarten, grade school. He may at some point say “I’m too old for you to read to me” or would rather read himself, but until then, read aloud. Read books, magazines, recipes, news articles, product descriptions, reviews—whatever interests you and her.
“Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school.” - National Center for Education Statistics
Read daily. We included it as part of the bedtime ritual. The kids could pick a book out of the ones we owned or the ones we’d brought home from the library. With two children, that meant two stories. It also meant they rushed into pajamas so they could snuggle with Mom or Dad and enjoy the books.
According to B. Bardige, author of Talk to Me, Baby!, “Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory.” I remember adults being surprised at our preschool daughter’s vocabulary. She got it from being read to.
Set the example and read yourself. Of course, this may backfire. Once your children are older, you may be reading some of the same things and he might get to that book first! However, books you each read silently can be a nice bridge to conversation.
I know we and our children bonded over books. Mem Fox said this about reading aloud, “Parents get to know their children’s character, and children get to know their parents. There’s a fondness that develops that’s just gorgeous.”
That’s a win, win.
About the Author
SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, who has also lived in the Midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can't figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.
Sue likes traveling and animals, especially those in the cat family, and has a dog and cat who own her.
You can read Sue’s “Real Parenting” column on the 4th Thursday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.