Books and The Power of Reading
Reading to your child at a young age is one of the most effective tools for expanding their mind and instilling a lifelong love of learning. Reading a good book allows your child to travel to places they has never been, to meet people they has never met, and to develop an understanding of how to deal with a variety of physical and emotional situations.
Reading to your child also helps you develop an emotional connection. Whether you have them cuddle up in your lap, nestle with them while they wind down for bed, or read to them while waiting for food in a restaurant, you are connecting. Reading to your child from an early age will also help them be successful in school. Reading out loud will help them learn language and become familiar with words. Reading is the foundation for developing an understanding of conceptual information and it sparks imagination!
Your child is never too young to be read to. Frankly, you should begin reading to your child while in the womb. During this time, use reading as a way of familiarizing the baby to your voice. If both parents take turns reading, it is even better. Imagine, before the baby is even born, the act of reading helps you connect and it can help parents reconnect with each other.
When your child is born, the adventure begins. During the “easy” phase of infancy when your child is not physically able to explore his/her world, reading to your child helps them feel loved and comforted. Nestled in your arms with a favourite picture book, your baby will, at first, seem unaware of what is going on. But are they?
Reading to your child should become second nature. Anytime, anywhere is an opportunity to read to your child. During the hectic toddler days, books can be lifesavers in public places. If you have to stand in line at a bank, take a book bag along filled with engaging books that your child enjoys. Before they get fussy, take out a book and start reading. Yes, it is very difficult to read to your child while you are holding them and standing up at the same time! Instead, put them in a stroller and bend down. As you read to your child, you are using your time preciously. By bending down, you are coming down to their level. By reading, you are expanding their knowledge and growing neurons. Make your waiting time, their reading time!
If you are not a reader and do not enjoy reading, you have a great obstacle to overcome. If you do not enjoy reading and/or you were not brought up with reading in the home, it will be doubly difficult for you to get in the habit of reading. Please, don’t let this stop you!
The exciting thing about being human is that you can change anytime. Start slowly. Find a topic that interests you and start reading. Buy a bookcase and make it a goal to slowly fill it up with children’s books, classics, or whatever else suits your fancy.
Read to your child. Engage their imagination. Don’t assume that children read at a certain age. There are so many things that you can do to prepare them for the day when they start to decipher letters and words on their own. Lay the foundation early in life and your child will reap wonderful rewards.
L.J. Davis is the author of A Simple Brown Leaf, a story for a new generation of children. “Every child has a purpose. Every child asks the question, ‘Who am I going to become.’”
Learn more at ljdavis.com