I love the slogan that says, “Reading is my Superpower!” This is so true for me. If there is one area in my life where I excel, it is reading. I have several books going at once. One I’m reading for pleasure, one to learn the craft of my work, an audiobook I’m listening to alone and an audiobook I’m listening to with my husband. I also start my day reading my Bible and often reference the scripture during the day. And, I have books I’m reading for research on a variety of topics. Whew!
Where did this love of reading come from? Some of my earliest memories are of my mom and my dad reading books to me and to my sisters. Mom took us on weekly trips to the library when we were young. When I got old enough to walk there on my own, I loved spending hours in the library searching for new books. I would carry home an armful of books every week.
Another favorite memory is my grandmother walking to our house and reading to me when I stayed home from school. I can’t recall why I was home, but I remember grandma walking down outrage lane and me snuggled against her as she read.
Reading is so important to me that I made sure to continue with my children. From the time they were born they would hear stories read to older siblings. Every time I sat down to nurse one child all the others came running to hear a story. When you have five kids finding enough lap room and arms to go around can be tricky. But, those times were so precious.
Yesterday, we met my daughter, son-in-law and grandsons who were in Phoenix, AZ for the day. We went to a bookstore and both boys (ages one and four) were so excited about the books. I sat on the floor with them to read and then we chose a book for them to take home. They were more excited about the books than the toys the store also carried.
What is it about reading to a child that helps them? Here are a few examples from studies that have been done.
- Reading to young children helps them succeed. They are learning skills from an early age that will give them an advantage in school.
- Reading helps develop language skills. As babies listen to you read, they learn pronunciation and how to use different words. Their vocabulary is building all the time.
- Reading exercises the child’s brain. Listening to stories enhances their brain activity and promotes early reading.
- Reading helps their concentration. Even though a baby or toddler wants to turn the page early and gets impatient, reading to them every day teaches patience and sitting still. They also learn to respect property and care for the books.
- Reading encourages a thirst for knowledge. As they learn new things from the books, they will desire to learn even more.
- Reading encourages diversity. Choosing a variety of topics, both in fiction and non-fiction can encourage a child to want to gather more information about people, cultures and the world.
- Reading develops imagination and creativity. So true.
- Reading develops empathy. As the child sees what a character goes through, they learn to empathize with other people and see other’s needs.
- Reading is a form of entertainment. This type of entertainment is interactive in so many ways and stretches their thinking skills.
- Reading together creates a bond. Sitting with all my kids around me as I read did create a strong bond that is still there today.
If you want to give a gift worth giving, consider sitting down to read to a child. Give them a superpower that can be passed from one generation to the next.