3 Selfish Reasons to Read to Your Kids

Published 4 years ago

Today, we are delighted to have Alysa, from Everead, guest posting with us. Please enjoy as she shares why she loves reading with her kids.

Hi, I’m Alysa. I have three kids, ages 7, 5, and 2. Before I had children, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. I love reading children’s literature, and earning my degree taught me the value of reading. You already know that reading is good for kids brains, and that they do better in all other subjects in school if they read well. Reading also helps kids develop empathy, or the ability to relate to other kids. That’ll come in handy not least when the career they want requires “good interpersonal skills.”

It won’t surprise you when I say that reading with kids is one great way to teach kids how to read. But when I read with my kids, I’m not usually thinking about that. This may sound crass, but I figure their teachers at school will teach them how to read; and I’m fine with that.

So, if I’m happy to let the teachers do the work, WHY do I love reading with my kids?

  1. It gives me a break. Is it just me or was this the longest summer ever? Ok, maybe it’s just me. We left a school district that lets out early and moved to a school district that runs on a later schedule. So this probably was the longest summer we’ll ever have. Am I sounding like a lazy whiner? Truly though, one thing I love about reading with the kids is that it requires so little effort of me. It’s so relaxing that it often makes me sleepy. Turn the pages, read the words. Much easier than trying to teach them how to do a chore (sigh, something we’ve been working on) or trying to make sure that the two year old doesn’t color on herself or the table as well as the paper. And it’s easier by far than convincing them that they’ve had enough screen time! Reading aloud is SO EASY. You just have to do it and they’re like, hypnotized.
  2. Not that I want my kids to be hypnotized zombies all the time. No. They’re learning! I want them to be learning zombies. Wait. Let me rephrase that: I want learning to be so effortless for them that they don’t even notice it happening. I want them to be effortless learners. There we go. When I read to them, my kids are learning not only about whatever the book is saying, but also about “print awareness”: how to hold books, which way is right side up, how to track words across the page (especially if I remember to follow along with my finger as I read), where does one sentence end and another begin, etc. Also I’m modeling reading “fluency” for the kids. I’m not reading in jerky starts and stops, like beginning readers often do, I’m reading smoothly, with expression, and effortlessly teaching my kids that that’s the right way to do read.
  3. I also love that reading helps us create memories that are fun and loving: sitting close by one another (or on my lap), getting to talk later about the things that happened in the book. We are making good memories and I didn’t have to get out the camera, or buy a ticket to anywhere, or buckle them all in the car. Some of my best conversations with my kids have been around books. These great conversations leave me thinking, “Wow! My kid is so smart or funny or adorable,” instead of thinking, “It’s been too long since I talked to another adult.” And the more often I appreciate my kids, the happier I feel.

Well, it appears that most of my reasons are selfish. But I like to think they’re selfish for a good cause. They’re only selfish because I want us all to be happy and have a good life. For us, reading together plays a big part in that.

Are YOU feeling selfish now? If you’d like to start making some top secret, nefarious plans for literary induced happiness, feel free to read some of my other posts on reading with kids: How To Hook Young Ones Into Reading, How Reading Together Taught Us to Say Please, and 3 Ways to Teach Kids Reading. Visit me any time on my blog, Everead, where I selfishly share my book thoughts, to trick people into talking books with me.

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