Some of my favorite memories of growing up involve my parents reading certain stories to me, over and over. I can recite the words to some of these stories to this day, and the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes over me is something I want to make sure both my kids get to experience as well. That's why raising kids to love books is one of the priorities in our home.
My husband and I are both ravenous bookworms. Our combined library, after being culled many times, is currently around seven full bookcases and, well, I can't actually count how many e-books we own collectively because we both have books saved across multiple apps and multiple tablets and e-readers. But it's a lot.
Our children already have more than a bookcase of books themselves, and they're four and one years old. My stepdaughter devours books as well, and has passed many of her favorites along to her younger siblings. Well, she didn't have many books about trucks for her brother, unfortunately.
I mention all of this not to pat myself on the back, but to explain that my love of reading is something I can trace back to childhood, and so my husband and I are making an effort to develop that same love in our children. There are so many reasons this love of books has paid off for us, and we want to make sure our kids have those same advantages.
Imaginations Need Exercise
When you're reading a story and you aren't watching the action take place, but imagining it as you read, your brain is getting its creative exercise in for the day.
Screens Aren't The Only Place Where Amazing Things Can Happen
I've always wondered whether, when we're just sitting there and consuming visual-based media, our ability to imagine and create new things is being stifled. Does that make me old-fashioned? Whatever. Screens are whatever, but books are magic.
School Will Be More Enjoyable
Listen, reading is more than half of what school is. If you're comfortable reading, and enjoy it, you are already a few steps ahead of the game. Your kid is going to have to go to school regardless, so if you can give them a love of reading, then it's going to be a way less difficult time.
There's Always A Place To Escape
I have a few favorite books that I've read many, many times. The characters are like friends and I know I'll always find something new in those books. I can't imagine my kids growing up without that.
The Pictures Your Mind Creates Can Be Far More Exciting Than Images That Have Already Been Created
Haven't you heard about how almost no movies live up to the books they were adapted from? There are clearly some exceptions (mostly Harry Potter), but when someone else takes over and imagines what an author meant when they were writing a story, it can often end up pretty reductive and disappointing.
They'll End Up With Bigger Vocabularies
It's true: Being exposed to more diverse words from an early age helps to develop your child's vocabulary. There's no better way to do this than to read.
The Ability To Concentrate For Longer Periods
We all know it's a thing now: In general, our attention spans are shorter than they've ever been before. Reading books can help engage and develop your concentration, which is beneficial pretty much everywhere for the rest of your life.
It Helps Develop A Thirst For Knowledge
I'm pretty sure that one is self-explanatory.
It's A Way To Absorb Grammar Rules
Hey, we need all the help we can get, guys.
It Can Help To Develop Empathy
When you read stories of any sort, you learn more about the human condition. You learn about scenarios, personalities, and relationships that you might not otherwise encounter, which can help you understand them if and when you encounter them in real life.
They Will Be Very Impressive On Dates When They Grow Up
And honestly, is there any better reason to teach them anything ever?