November 11th, 2010 | Posted in Listening Skills, Thursday's Thoughts

Why is reading to your child so important?

Reading has the power to expand and stretch the mind in new directions, allowing for the development of abstract thought and deeper understanding of life. This is so important for the growing mind and overall development of your child. Reading opens up new worlds both fictional and non-fictional. It empowers your child to learn.

Let’s look at the 3 methods of learning through reading: Reading quietly to yourself, reading out loud, and being read to. Each method is important and develops the mind in different ways. Listening while being read to is the method of reading and learning which often goes overlooked and is underutilized.

Benefits of reading to your child:

Did you know that this is the oldest form of learning, also known as the art of storytelling? Storytelling is how information has been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. Story-telling in its oldest form was a way of interacting, entertaining and being entertained. It was the way people learned about life outside of their family and village. Reading to your child is an extension of story-telling. When we listen to a story it is much like being a passenger in a car, you take in the same information and experience as the driver, but you’re free to look around and daydream. With less responsibility for the action of reading the story, the mind is free to go deeper into the story, while experiencing and interacting with the characters on a more meaningful level.

Reading out loud to your child is also a way to teach them about real world situations through the expression of different characters. Your child gets the opportunity to vicariously experience important social concepts through the eyes of a character in a book. For instance, the character may experience love or hate, life or death, success or failure, joy or sorrow or simply learns an important lesson. This can help your child deal with difficult situations they are experiencing by seeing how a character in the book deals with a similar situation. Or maybe your child learns that lesson with the character before having to go through the experience themselves. It is a way to prepare children to deal with what life brings.

Through reading and discussion, you get to guide the topics of conversation.

By mindfully selecting which stories to read, you guide your child’s development and learning in a more interactive way. Reading is a way to guide a conversation, a starting point to interact with your child, and open up communication and dialog. Reading aloud gives the child and parent a time to experience things together and to discuss. Remember as a parent, you are the child’s first and most important teacher.

I’m excited about offering “Thursday Thoughts”. This will be a time and place to talk about appropriate books, stories and poems to read for varied ages and stages of development.  In addition we will talk about how reading the right books can open up important topics of conversation with your child involving life lessons. Reading with your child can be an amazing experience for the whole family, if you know how, where, when and what to read. Come join me on this journey. See you here next Thursday

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