I love reading to my kids.
As a teacher I know that the future success of my kids is largely dependent on their ability to read. I don’t just mean tests like the SAT and ACT, which are based on reading ability and comprehension, or success in college and a career, but the ability to be a free independent thinkers, who can be knowledgeable in any chosen field. Reading can make an individual successful in life. Charlotte Mason talks about the importance of reading with children in this way.
Naturally, each of us possesses this mind-stuff only in limited measure, but we
know where to procure it; for the best thought the world possesses is stored in
books; we must open books to children, the best books; our own concern is
abundant provision and orderly serving.”
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.”
– Kate DiCamillo
In addition to short children’s books/family worship/bible reading we are usually reading two “chapter” books at a time. One book we read as a family, when all six of us are home (we are reading the Little House on the Prairie series right now) and one I read while Heidi is at work and it’s just me and the kids (we are reading My Side of the Mountain part one of a Trilogy by Jean Craighead George). Often we’ll carve out some reading time at the end of supper. I’ll read while the kids are finishing eating and doing after dinner cleanup. I can’t take credit for this idea, since I was read most of Little Britches while doing the dishes as a child (thanks Mom), but I probably can be blamed for sneaking some extra time at the end of the actual meal (something I won’t win any etiquette awards for). As our kids get older we have begun to read some more advanced books which makes it even more fun.
Here are five reasons I love reading to my kids.
1 – I get to spend quality time with my kids. Often when I am home with them I am working on a project and they are playing or doing their own chores. Even though we are in the same vicinity we are doing different things. When we read together we take the time to stop and do one thing together. And as Gladys Hunt points out in Honey for a Child’s Heart reading together gives us common stories and ideas to discuss and share together.
2 – I get to read books I normally wouldn’t read. I’m a sucker for coming of age books but I seldom take time to read those books for myself. Now I get to read books like Little Britches by Ralph Moody, Big Red and Irish Red by Jim Kjelgaard and Old Yeller by Fred Gipson to my kids and be a nine-year-old again with them.
Let me add a short blurb about good books. Heidi has done a wonderful job of building our family library and has used a variety of books to help choose quality books. These include: Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt (see my review of this book for further information), Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson, Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson and Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, Who Should We Then Read by Jan Bloom (thanks Ayme for this recommedation) and The Book Tree: A Christian Reference for Children’s Literature by Elizabeth McCallum and Jane Scott. These are all great tools to help you as look for good reading whether it be at a store or at the library.
3 – I take more time to read. Reading to kids is so good for them that it is something I really NEED to do. So since I NEED to read I am “forced” to put other things on hold and take the time to read to my kids. Although it “pains” me greatly, sometimes I HAVE to sit on the couch and read instead of clean the garage. Bummer.
4 – I look forward to it. I love to have my kids huddled around me (and on top of me) while I read on the couch. I love reading new books and rereading old ones even if they are for kids.
“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” – C. S. Lewis
5 – They love it. I really enjoy seeing the excitement on their faces when they ask if we can read and I say yes. Or when they quietly lay the book we are reading on the dinner table and tap on the cover to make sure that I’ve seen it and know what they are implying.
There may be more compelling reasons for you to read to your kids. Certainly there are many more academic reasons that I did not mention. But the main reason I read to my kids is that it is fun and I love it.