Reading To Your Children

By: Brandie Valenzuela

It can't be said enough: read to your children and let them read to you! There is no set age to begin -- some parents start reading to their baby in their womb, others expose their child to their first books when they are toddlers. All that really matters is that you start early, and read often!

After going without a trip to our local library for several years, my children and I went back to the place that, for them, was like a candy store. Smiles appear to their faces as they wander the aisles looking for that perfect book. My son frantically types words such as "lizards" and "monkeys" into the computerized card catalog, while my daughter asks the volunteers for help finding "scary books". As a mother, this is a delightful sight. I love watching my children so in awe of the written word, and so eager to enter the new worlds where these books will take them.

If you are a parent who admits that you don't read to your children enough, or if you feel that you are just too busy for this activity, I would like to take the time to explain to you several reasons for why you should read to your little ones:

  1. Reading aloud to children helps them to learn to read. If you need just one reason, this should be it! All parents want their children to learn to read and by reading to them you are giving them an early start.
  2. Reading aloud helps your child to learn new words and language skills. Think for a second -- if you are reading a book about cats and the word "feline" is in the text, it is chances are that your child will begin to know that "feline" is another word for "cat" -- even without you specifically saying this.
  3. Reading aloud to children helps them to develop their imaginations. Young children will listen to the words that you read and they will imagine them in their minds. Later, they might think back to the story and imagine even greater tales involving the characters, places, and feelings you read about.
  4. Reading aloud to children helps them to learn about the world around them. Books can expose us to locations and situations that we may never experience ourselves first hand.
  5. Reading aloud teaches children that reading is a part of everyday life. Just as your child learns to bathe and brush his teeth, establishing daily reading routines with books will show them that this fun activity is an important part of daily life.
  6. Reading aloud shows children that adults value reading. A child's greatest role model is you! Read to them, and have them see you reading on your own, and they will realize that reading is something you should do.
  7. Reading aloud to children helps them to learn about moral concepts. Many stories teach about honesty, service, kindness and choosing right from wrong. Enjoy a good book together can end up teaching your child these valuable concepts.
  8. Reading aloud to children better enables them to have success once they enter school. While no one can guarantee that a child read to at a young age will have no problems in school, a child that is read to is more likely to do better than those who aren't.
  9. Reading aloud to children enables them to enjoy books that are too difficult for them to read on their own. Many parents read aloud from the Bible or other books that are more for older persons. This is a perfect way to bring more variety to your child's life, but just be sure to incorporate lots of books that are on their level also.
  10. Reading aloud to children is a way feel close to each other. Since reading is a calm and soothing activity, it gives parents something to engage in with their children without spending a lot of money or even a lot of energy. Snuggle up and read!

© 2001 Brandie Valenzuela. Brandie is a wife and homeschooling mom to three children, who also works fulltime from her home designing custom scrapbook albums and teaching scrapbook classes. For more information, visit:

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