Read me a Story!

img_1540Happy National Family Literacy Month! Yes, there are hundreds of national days, but I think this one is worth celebrating. In this TV, video, YouTube, internet, and out-and-about driven world, bringing back the tradition of reading as a family is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children.

Reading books together increases a child’s knowledge, develops the imagination, and helps teach concentration and a love for learning. As a parent, preschool teacher, an elementary teacher, and a grandparent, reading to children is and has always been a treasure and a joy. It’s a special, intimate, and memorable time to spend with kids. It also teaches kids to love books, to love learning, and to love being together.

My grandchildren live in South Africa, but that doesn’t stop me from reading to them. In fact, they expect it! Every week we Skype and besides talking, laughing, and loving together, my grandgirls always ask me to “read a story.” I pick four books from my ever-growing picture book library, and then I let them choose one of them.

Some of the books take us to faraway places like Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya, the first children’s book I authored. Some of them are silly like the Dr. Seuss books. Some are poignant and emotional. Others teach about the future or the past or character values or biblical truths. When we read together, we talk and laugh and share and make memories. Books transcend time and space, build imaginations, and bring the world to our doorstep, even when we are half a world away.

So how can you create a tradition of reading together? Just do it! Build a library. Give books as gifts, not only to your children or grandchildren but also to others as baby gifts or as birthday or Christmas gifts. Seriously, don’t they get enough toys and clothes already?

Then read. Read before bed. Read on snowy or rainy days. Read family devotions together. Go to story hour or bring a book and read while you’re waiting for appointment. The opportunities are endless—from reading road signs to recipes to game rules and more. Affirm every effort your child shows to read and listen as they learn. And treat every reading opportunity as the miracle and wonder it is.

Truth is, reading rocks! How do you build reading traditions in your family? I’d love to know!




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