Why Reading to Children Matters

I recently read an article from For Parents about how reading to children makes a big difference in their growing up years. Here’s part of it from Deborah Farmer Kris:

“Go pick your bedtime book, right now,” I told my four-year-old. Afternoon meltdowns had turned into bedtime battles, and I was tired. He returned clutching the book Glad Monster, Sad Monster and curled up beside me.

His body began to relax as we read about all the things that made these monsters glad, mad, sad, and scared. “Did you have big feelings today, like the monsters?” I asked. Big nod.

“Do you need extra hugs tonight?” More nods. When he couldn’t quite tell me how he was feeling, he found a book that could speak for him — and that helped me give him what he needed.”

Whenever I stayed overnight at my grandparents’ house, my grandmother (whom we all called “Ba”) read to me before I went to sleep. She read from the wonderful “Mother West Wind Stories” by Thornton Burgess and George Kerr.

I absolutely loved those stories, but what made them special was that my beloved grandmother read them to me. I loved the sound of her voice, and I loved to cuddle up close to her while she read. When I learned to read, I didn’t tell Ba because I was afraid that she wouldn’t read to me anymore. Looking back, I think that she knew full well that I could read, but also knew that I loved to have her read to me.

Reading to children expands their horizons; they can thrill to stories of pirates and swashbucklers, fairies, detectives, people on the moon, or animals who can talk, and so much more. Reading to children enriches their minds and hearts, and stretches their imagination. Best of all, it’s a time where a child can have a parent all to themselves.

Now I never had children of my own, but I remember being a child. It meant everything to me that a busy (and often tired) grownup took the time to read a story to me at bedtime. It reinforced the love I had for my grownups, and it was the perfect end to the day.

It’s never too late to start reading to kids. They may think that they are too old to be read to, but they love that special time with their grownup. By the time they become adults and have their own families, they will remember those cozy times before sleep. Oh, they may roll their eyes now and say that they aren’t babies anymore, but their hearts still long for someone they love to read to them.


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