The importance of raising a child who reads can’t be overstated, so quick question: Is your child a reader? If not, then as their parent/guardian, are you stressing the importance of reading to them? If you aren’t, then this article is for you.
Don’t worry, I get it. There’s so much going on around the house already. I mean, what, with homework-time, dinner-time, bath-time, clean-the-mess-up-time, and, for me anyway, repeat yourself for the three-thousandth time-time… So, yeah, it can be hard to prioritize yet another “task”, but trust me, reading is definitely one that you’ll get your bang for the buck from. Figuratively speaking.
Now, let me be clear. I’m most certainly not here to judge or lecture you if you’re someone who doesn’t teach the importance of reading to the young ones in your life. My goal is to simply spread the benefits of reading, because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a children’s book author and illustrator, it’s that there are an awful lot of children out there who’ve yet to learn the magic of books.
Like exercise, a healthy reading regime goes a long way. I knew this early on, so my children have always been required to read X amount of time a day. Want to go outside? Not until you’ve read. Want to play video games? Not until you’ve read. Want to do anything that’s not reading, including but not limited to eating, breathing, blinking, or growing? Not until you’ve read! And why am I so strict about this? Because I believe reading truly is that important. Besides, today’s world is filled with far too many technological distractions. I can’t just leave the vital decision of whether they’ll read up to them. As the parent, I feel I’m required to teach and instill key values, and this is one of them. I felt a responsibility to plant the reading seed early, and I’ve constantly watered it as they’ve aged. Thankfully so. Now that reading is a part of my kids’ lives, I’ve begun to see the fringe benefits.
Children who read tend to do better in school due to the fact their comprehensive skills are more developed than children who don’t read. And not just in English-based courses, either. If reading is involved, say, the directions on a test or homework assignment, then their comprehension of those directions will go a long way.
No, a child can’t truly comprehend something if they don’t understand the words they’re reading. Thankfully, kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They’re fleshy sponges! If you haven’t taught them how to look up words, or if they don’t simply ask what a word means, you don’t necessarily need to panic. They may be reading words they don’t yet know, but they’re soaking up the context those words are being used in. When they keep seeing the same word used in the same way, they’ll begin to associate that word with a certain thing. Their comprehension of that word only develops from there.
This is great because most kids interact with other kids who aren’t forcing them to grow in the educational sense, and that’s to be expected. What’s unfortunate, is that most kids are part of a family that, more often than not, is complacent with their educational growth. And by that, I mean they’re hardly reading and growing themselves in an educational sense. As a result, we parents tend to use the same language over and over and our children fall right in line with us. Which means, if they’re not reading, then they’re not expanding their vocabulary either.
It’s no surprise that reading also helps improve vocabulary and language skills. Young readers (even adults) are subconsciously absorbing information and learning grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. Because of this, they end up being able to translate it into their own writing and speech much more clearly than a non-reader.
Reading books helps children learn about the world around them. Simple things like Michigan people calling a can of Pepsi “pop”, whereas a Missouri native would call it “soda”, but also much more serious situations as well. Books help children learn about people, places and events outside their normal experience, which is why the saying, “Readers live a thousand lives,” rings so true.
So, as you can see, the importance of raising a child who reads can’t be overstated. I’m well aware you didn’t need me to convince you of this. It’s obvious enough. But, hopefully, I’ve helped prod you into motion. If you’re looking for some book recommendations, I have you covered. And if you’re at all confused about what types of books best fit the little one in your life, then I have you covered with that as well.