“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
As a child, I barely have any memories of reading. I was forced to read novels when my fascination was with pictorial books. I still remember how I sneaked an Archie comic book inside my textbook. What I’m trying to say here is that you can’t expect a child to love reading books just like that. It must be developed gradually. This I learned as a parent.
Being a mom to a 4-year-old has opened my mind to books. I’m discovering a whole new world with my son and we imagine a world inside the story and do role plays. We both love our reading time as its when we are not distracted and discuss various questions that arise whilst reading.
I honestly feel its important to stretch our imagination. Books help us master the art of visualizing people, places, and actions. A strong imagination means conversations are richer. There is a greater hunger for detail when we tell our stories from the day. Smaller things become more wonderful and our perspective, as a family is being broadened.
Why is it important to have reading time?
How much time, in an average week, does your family spend together? It’s a pertinent question, and I’m acutely aware of the fact that as our family continues to grow older, that amount of time is becoming smaller and smaller. Sports, homework, activities, work – we’ve got all these things going on, and as they do, they continue to squeeze us.
If we’re not careful, the only time we really spend together will be the time when each of us is focused on our own thing – we just happen to be in the same room together. There is precious little time when we are all focused on one thing (and even more precious when that one thing is not some kind of screen). We often pass on gadgets and a child is expected to entertain himself or may put a video for them to watch. What are we achieving by doing this?
Reading together is a positive way to address this. Even if it’s just 30 minutes. These are precious moments, carved out when you are not only together physically, but you are together emotionally and intellectually.
By reading together we are helping them grow their imagination, develop language skills and make lasting memories. Sometimes we need to make a conscious effort cause the early years until the age of five is crucial for a child’s development. Having said that reading to children is powerful at all ages too. It never stops being important and having a great impact on the life of a child.
Reading also teaches us to hold our attention span and concentration. And I’ve found that reading out loud is even more difficult. It takes a level of concentration that we are increasingly becoming unaccustomed to in our culture. You have to wait for the slow burn of character development, plot revelations, and emotional investment. This patience is a gift we can give our children – and something we can always use a little more of ourselves.
How can we add reading time?
It’s undeniable that it is hard to fit everything needed to raise a child into a single day, or even a week. You can incorporate read-aloud moments into routines, using them at impromptu times throughout the day, reading aloud to foster quiet time or as a part of an already boisterous playtime. When we need a breather or some quiet time I grab hold of some books add some puppet play in there for extra fun.
Who should read?
Studies show that it’s still the mother who reads aloud most often to her children, let’s make a new commitment—as dads, as men, as grandfathers, as siblings— to read more often to the children in our homes and in our care. The beautiful thing about the read-aloud is how it can be tailored to the lifestyles and preferences of families. Everyone can join around the read-aloud to create a sense of well-being and mutual care. It is a prescription for lifelong success for the child and a dose of deep well-being for the family.
What do we achieve?
The answer is one-word, memories. When my son looks back I want him to remember how we read together as a family and how that reading helped us share moments and make memories. As we get older our lives get busier so why not make the most of the moments we have to laugh, cry, cheer, and celebrate. Reading is one simple, but powerful way to take advantage of them while we have them.
I end this blog post with a quote:
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
– Richard Steele
Hi there, I’m Amanda a mum to two boys. My blog captures what I love to do with my sons. Join us on our journey where we explore new areas, create a whole new world filled with art and color, learn and discover together through simple everyday things. Follow me on social media: Website, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube.