5 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids

read kids

In this day and age of advanced technology, we are exposed to the written word everywhere we look- on our phones, tablets, laptops, iPads, TV, and so on and so on. In fact, chances are very good that your kids are just as exposed as you are. And while this could be an awesome thing, there is one major disadvantage: it is putting a wall between us and our children. 

Not only is it taking up too much of our time, it has stolen too many moments away from our families, as well. 

One of my fondest childhood memories is of me sitting on my mom’s lap, listening to her read to me. I can still remember how soothing her voice was to me and how content I felt in those moments. Although I don’t remember this, my mother tells me that I used to sit and cry because I couldn’t read, which is why she taught me how at the age of 4.

I often wonder how many memories like this are being stolen from our precious children, not just because of technology, but because life seems to have become all hustle and bustle with no down time.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. Here are…

5 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids

1.It’s a bonding experience. Let’s face it. Between sports, extracurricular activities, errands, and school work, it can be really tough to find a way to get some quality time in with your kids. There’s just nothing that can beat a good snuggle on Mom or Dad’s lap to listen to a good story. And don’t limit it to your little ones! I read to all of my kids, and even though the older kids may sometimes act like they’re too old for it, when your teenage daughter suddenly puts her head on your shoulder during read-aloud time or you have to break up fights over who gets to sit next to you, you know that it means more to them than they let on.🙂

2.It introduces pre-readers to the world of books. Isn’t there just something wonderful about holding a book in your hands? The illustrations, the feel of the pages in your fingers, and let’s not forget the smell- the older the book, the better-, a book in the hand is something that’s sure to awaken your little one’s senses to endless possibilities that can arise within those two covers. As I mentioned before, the act of my mother consistently reading to me was enough to stir in me the desire to do this on my own. I’ve heard accounts of so many children who learned to read simply by watching their mother’s finger move under the words, or just listening for the first word and the last word on every page. One important thing is worth mentioning, though. Do not read to your kids solely so that they learn how to read. Kids are smart, and they will pick up on that. Think of learning to read as an added bonus.

3.It increases your child’s vocabulary. This week I’ll be finishing up reading Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie to my kids. I’ve been continually amazed by the level of difficulty in the vocabulary used in this book that was written for children! It really is a testament to the fact that much of today’s literature has really been dumbed down, and it’s an excellent example of why you should expose your children to the classics. Here is one sentence that illustrates this perfectly:

“It was a sanguinary affair, and especially interesting as showing one of Peter’s peculiarities, which was that in the middle of a fight, he would change sides.”

I’m not going to lie. The kids and I both struggled through the first chapter. But after reading chapter after chapter, we’ve come to love it, and the language used has become one of the most magical parts of the story. I daresay that a vocabulary curriculum would never be required if only quality literature were at your child’s disposal.

4.It sparks the imagination. One of our other favorite read-alouds was Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Countless times after reading to the kids, I would later find them outside using old pieces of wood to build their own cabins and pretending they were churning butter. During the first snowfall while we were reading this book, my children insisted upon making the snow candy that was described in this book. They didn’t like it, but they had fun making it! We ended up loving it so much that we read through the whole series, and I wrote a unit study on it!

5.It enhances your child’s understanding of the world around them. There’s nothing quite like watching a movie, seeing something on the news, or discovering something while you’re out and about when your child says, “Hey! Didn’t we read about that?” It’s so satisfying to see those connections being made. This is why I incorporate so much reading into our homeschool and so few textbooks (actually our elementary and middle school-age kids only use textbooks for spelling/phonics/grammar and math…EVERYTHING else is learned through living books). Humans are storytellers; we always have been. So, of course, we’re going to retain something better that is presented as a story. If you would ask a child who learned about frontier life from a textbook what he remembered about that time period, I almost guarantee you that he would remember far less than a child who was exposed to the Little House series.

I know this will sound redundant, but your children are only children for so long. One day, they will grow up and have children of their own. Isn’t this the sort of memory you’d like passed along? If you haven’t been sharing this time with your kids, start now.

Get off your phone.

Get off your laptop.

Spend the day at home.

Read to your kids. It’s never too late.

 

 

Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

78 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids”

    1. You should, Camie! It was a fantastic read aloud in our home when the children were young. And I have a distinct memory of reading aloud Robin Hood by Howard Pyle when my son was only seven, and I knew he was listening intently when one part struck him so funny he belly laughed with delight. That was one of those read-aloud precious moments.

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  1. When my son started kindergarten, he absolutely didn’t want anything to do with school. So the first book we read was “Treasure Island” in its original text and vocabulary. My son was hooked and enjoyed school after that. I guess we are a little crafty with which books we choose…

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    1. We read Treasure Island a couple of years ago, and the kids absolutely loved it! After Peter Pan, we’re going to be reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It will be a big change text-wise, but we all love that series and are looking forward to reading the second book. (I’ve actually read the whole series about three times, but it just gets better every time.)

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  2. These are all good reasons for reading with your kids. I have three kids who love and adore books. My middle child is a struggling reader, but it’s not due to lack of effort on his part. It’s just something he struggles with, but he more than makes up for it in everything else he does.

    My kids love the things they learn through reading books.

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    1. That’s how my 8 yr old is. He’s just beginning to read a little bit, but he has excellent math skills and is very much a physical learner. He’s one of those kids who’s good at just about every sport he tries. We don’t make a big deal out of his struggle with reading because, really, is it going to matter when he learned how to read? We out too much focus on learning to read early, when instead the focus should be on when the child is ready.

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  3. Amen to all of the above! When my daughter was old enough to sit up, I used to snuggle with her on the couch with a board book and allow her to flip through the pages while I’d attempt to read to her or just point things out on a specific page. It was quite funny. Sometimes she’d start giggling when she’d flip through pages and I would abruptly and dramatically cut off my words or speed read bits and pieces of words. I’d read to her during snack times too when she was captive in her high chair.She is now 8 and a voracious reader. With a vocabulary, comprehension, and writing ability that is astounding. Last night, I was chuckling as she described to us the causes of tornadoes as if she were Hermione Granger reciting for a teacher. Seriously, read to your kids as much as possible. Excellent post!

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  4. These are such great reasons! One of my favorite times of the day is when my toddler crawls into my lap with a stack of books. I love seeing how attentive she is during these times. It’s so much more worthwhile than watching TV!

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  5. This was a timely read. I haven’t been spending much time reading with the boys lately. We’ve been outside, but not reading….And, I just put on my schedule for the week that we need to read more daily again! Thanks for the extra push!🙂

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  6. Amen! I love this so much and often tout the same advice– read aloud are not something kids should outgrow! I still daily read to my kiddos, aged 11, 9, and 4. I especially love your reminder of the bonding of the ritual.🙂

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  7. I love reading. I have two children, ages 5 years and the other is 8 mo old. I’ve been reading to my oldest since she was a baby and we’ve recently begun reading chapter books. Her favorite so far was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately, she was adamant that there needed to be more chapters when it was over.

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  8. Yes, yes, and yes! One of our favorite memories are the times we spent reading together with our children. My husband and I took turns. We really got into it by changing our voices with each character and such. Even to this day, my twenty-year-old daughter (who is a journalism major in college), occasionally asks me to read to her! Many times it’s books for her classes in college.

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  9. Amen to all of the above… I have a dyslexic granddaughter, who has had a mightly struggle with reading, but have always read to her. Today (armed with her new pair of tinted glasses) she curled up on the sofa with a graphic novel of Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic – because she wanted to. Yay! And you’re right, it is a great bonding moment. Inbetween chapters or sections, often it’s the time of day when they feel relaxed enough to want to discuss problems and concerns with you, too.

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    1. We just finished it today, and I’m so sorry it ended! I borrowed the Disney Peter Pan DVD from the library, but I know it’s nothing like the book. We mainly wanted it for the crocodile.🙂

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  10. Both my girls love books! My littlest (just had her first birthday) gets excited when she sees a book. I hope they never lose that excitement and I try to read to them everyday. I read a couple of short bedtime stories to the toddler every night. It’s lovely! #FridayFrivolity

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  11. I could not agree more with the importance of reading to your child. My oldest is 9 and I have been reading to her since I was pregnant actually, and she is now an avid reader and reading high school chapter books, and she loves non-fiction! It is the best thing I have done for my children. xo #momsterslink

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      1. She’s just like me as well. I wish I had more time for leisurely reading though. Today my readings are all school books. Either psychology or counseling related. And although I love them, I miss getting lost in a good fiction book.

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  12. Wow! As I read your 5 reasons, my response was similar to many of your readers – yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Number 3 struck a chord with me. We just wrote a post related to this and in researching it the following quote struck us: “By the age of five, the average child has a working knowledge of about 2000 words, but will only use about 700 in normal conversation.” Every opportunity to increase vocabulary is valuable down the road. Have a blessed day!

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    1. That’s wonderful! Not many dads will read to their kids. My dad used to “read” to me, but he would change the words and make up goofy stories. Ahh, going down memory lane.🙂

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  13. I’m really passionate about this so I’ve shared your post on twitter🙂 Currently reading a different book each day to my little ones. I do think their vocab has really come on #KCACOLS

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  14. Here you go speaking my heat again! I have seen the fruit of this powerful habit in all of my kids who are not so little anymore and you are spot on! It’s one of the best choices a young mother can make and keep throughout raising children.

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  15. As a child I never remember anyone ever reading to me. I don’t even remember reading my first book until I was in junior high and it was a class requirement. Sure, I knew how to read but it just didn’t interest me until later in life. In high school I used to LOVE to do research papers and write short stories as long as I got to pick the topic. Now I can get lost in a book and you can’t get me to put it down so I highly believe that it was something that I inherited all on my own. Sadly I don’t read to my kids enough because for one they can never agree on a book that they want me to read and if it’s before bedtime and I pick it they are constantly bickering with one another because of course they aren’t interested in what I picked. My son was reading by the time he started kindergarten and has excelled at it but yes, he would rather watch something than read it. Maybe, like me, all my children will develop a love of reading and writing like I did. For now I don’t push things they aren’t interested in. Thanks so much for linking up with #momsterslink.

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    1. I was the same way with writing in high school! I was in an AP English class, so we were graded on a scale of 1-5, and I consistently scored 5s (a perfect grade) for writing papers on books I never even read! Ah, good times.

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