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3 Benefits to Reading to Your Kids

All parents should try to spend a little time each day reading to their children. In our household, bedtime was the preferred time for mom to sprawl across the bed, book in hand, with little ones cuddled up on all sides. Reading to our children helps them expand their knowledge of the world outside their limited boundaries and it helps them dream and explore unlimited possibilities for their lives. We were designed with a creative spark inside each of us, and reading helps our children discover their unique talents and abilities.

However, there are three specific reasons why you need to read to your children everyday.

1. Reading Boosts Communication Skills.  
When you read to your child, he or she enters the school years with a larger vocabulary. Since most instruction in the early years is oral, children who understand more words and can follow more complex reasoning and will have a much easier time understanding what is being taught. Books introduce your children to a larger world of words than the short, condensed, usually one-way communication we engage in when we feed or care for those same children.

Beginner books that utilize touch bring your children a tactile environment outside of what they are used to. It helps build those intricate neural connections in the brain they will need as they develop. As your children get older, books introduce them to complex concepts such as math and science in an enjoyable way. Fiction books can fire up their imaginations and help them explore their emotions and reactions to different situations. Books are an excellent common ground for the many discussions that families could have about morals and boundaries and belief in God.

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2.  Reading Helps Bolster Academic Excellence.
Research has shown a clear correlation between reading to your child and language development. The simple act of reading has remarkable power. It’s undisputed that reading comprehension is a critical component in academic success. However, the years between birth and age five appear to be the peak time to cash in on our children’s language growth, as their ability to learn language is unequaled during this time. Reading to your child also encourages them to regulate their attention skills.

It has been shown that parents who communicate through oral language and body gestures (as you would when reading a book) have children who not only learn better in later life, but have children who seek new challenges and knowledge through life. In later years, you will find your child to be a sponge for educational opportunities that present themselves if you encourage their love of education from an early age.

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3. Reading Together is Relationship Building.
Our children will always remember those times when they felt they were more important to us than the everyday “noise” in our lives. Most of us go through life barely there. We have so many responsibilities and needs to meet that we can give short shrift to our kids. We also have technologies that emotionally and mentally take us away from our children. We have to lay down the television remote, turn off the smartphones, quit playing games on Facebook, and spend time in relationship with our children. Reading to them is one of the most special ways to do this, no matter their age!

My children will always remember the books we read, the character voices we’d make, and the acting out we did while reading. They remember those times of snuggling in the bed, eagerly anticipating the turn of the page. They are nearly thirty years old now and with families of their own, but they can still clearly remember those bedtime stories that brought them to magical places and allowed them to dream dreams bigger than they could imagine.

Reading to your children is never an exercise in futility. They will bond more closely with you, they will be given the tools they need to succeed in school, and they will be better able to communicate and pass along that knowledge they have learned. There is no better legacy that we can leave our children than an insatiable appetite for learning and engaging in new and wondrous things.

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