My daughter, Elliott, has had been read to since she was in the womb. My husband, Jacob, and I attended Indiana University when I was pregnant. We spent our Sunday afternoons doing homework at the dining room table and taking turns reading our textbooks to my enormous belly.
Reading to Elliott was never an option. After she was born, we read anything that had words: newspapers, restaurant menus, billboards, and books. As Elliott grew, books became just as important in our daily lives as water. There wasn’t a day that passed that we didn’t read to Elliott. It even progressed to her sleeping cuddled up with a book, as opposed to a stuffed animal (although she eventually got one of those too!)
Our goal for Elliott wasn’t necessarily to become a good reader or to love books. We just wanted some time with her-no TV, no phones, and no distractions. It was just the three of us hanging out on the bed and reading up to three books a night.
A few months before Elliott turned three, I could see how our actions helped her develop. She grabbed a book that we had read, what seemed like millions of times, and started to recite it. She had memorized the book. I couldn’t believe it. Weeks later, she told us she wanted to learn to read. We began teaching her sight words and how to blend. Now she is five, and for fun we play book club and have spelling tests (these are her ideas, not mine!)
We all want the best for our children, right? We want them to be able to accomplish anything they want. There is a single action that parents can do that will give their child every tool they need to do anything. Read to them.
Reading to your kids will:
- Allow you to spend uninterrupted time together
- Increase his or her vocabulary. Hearing more words spoken can only help increase your child’s vocabulary
- Expose your child to new ideas and cultures. Books have exposed Elliott to a variety of animals. She can tell you some random facts about marmots, thanks to books!
- Foster essential life skills, such as making connections and critical thinking.
The great thing about reading with your children, is it’s never too late to start! So, start tonight!