“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Words are magical.
They intertwine, collide, fuse, and reassemble, and with the push of a pen or the tap of a keyboard, they transform themselves into poetry, plays, lyrics, legends, memoirs, theories, fairy tales, and grand adventures.
Stories read aloud with children offer a wealth of opportunities for them to experience sounds, gaze at pictures, and make countless connections. Reading together promotes closeness. Reading is also foundational for brain-building. Children’s brains grow rapidly, and neural pathways develop as children respond to external influences— including environments and experiences. Storytimes and reading enjoyment can be catalysts for learning by enriching those ever-shifting environments and day-to-day experiences. There’s little doubt that reading (lots, together, independently, aloud) intensifies children’s understandings of people, places, and things.
Dr. Seuss expressed it aptly and succinctly with this short rhyme: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you go.”
Words can transform lives.
They have the power to influence and to change the way people think and act. The written word can, admittedly, be negative or positive, but when put together, messages convey all manner of life lessons and present endless possibilities from whence people (of all ages) can acquire knowledge. Reading is recreational and enriching.
For children, books are portals into new and exciting realms—past, present, future, distant, and wherever the mind or imagination chooses to go. That could be anywhere! For parents, books are like a record or study of humankind, offering pleasure and also information, and providing reassurance, strategies, guidance, and intellectual capital. Indeed, parents who read and show a love of reading are well-positioned to influence their children’s reading habits and to convey why reading has value.
THE VALUE OF READING
“Reading is perhaps the most powerful means of learning and a stimulating and close-at-hand way to find out about the world and all that it has to offer. Kids can read by themselves, but it’s also important to read aloud to them. That will help to build their knowledge base, increase their vocabulary, set the tone for life-long reading, and foster connectivity. Make time for reading aloud.”
Here are some sensible reasons why parents should prioritize reading with their little ones:
1. Bonding – Reading helps parents and children connect as they cuddle, talk about the material, share observations about illustrations, and experience the nuances and dynamics of a story together.
This kind of close interaction can be formative, reassuring, and strengthens a child’s contentment. (And, parents’ too.) It also serves to pique a child’s interests and nurtures learning, a sense of mastery, and enjoyment. It makes good sense for parents to enable reading opportunities within the family, and to make the experiences pleasurable. This can lead to fulfillment.
2. Calm – Life is hectic, and reading can be a welcome respite in an otherwise busy day. Reading can be a time for settling down, relaxation, comfort, and reflection.
3. Reflection – Reflective habits of mind contribute to skill-building, coping mechanisms, reasoning, social-emotional health, and general well-being. It’s important to encourage children to think about written words and illustrations—to pay attention to the messages, to process them thoughtfully—and thereby reinforce their reflective capacities.
4. Enhanced neural paths – The brain is always changing …