The Importance of Reading with Children

Posted November 14, 2017 by Amber in Memes / 12 Comments

The day before my best friend’s wedding back in early October, I was asked to come to their house and watch the girls for a couple hours so they both could get some last minute important stuff done.  Of course I agreed – not only was it the day before the wedding, but I adore their girls.  They are the kids I compare all other kids to, in a good way.  Also, it was an easy task.  First of all, the toddler was napping.  Secondly, the nine-year-old was “reading Harry Potter so she probably won’t even look up and say hi.”

Isn’t that an awesome problem to have with your kids?

Both these girls are deeply steeped in a love for literature.  They’re typical kids, don’t get me wrong.  Biking, video games, Paw Patrol… but both of them love and cherish reading.  Even if the three-year-old can’t quite manage yet, she pretends.  My best friends have nurtured a love for books in their girls because books are important to them.  She’s a bookworm and while he’s a slower reader, he indulges as well.  They read to their girls before bed every night.  And sometimes, the girls read to them.

I know there are many families who encourage this sort of love for books in their kids, but they are the only ones I know personally.  I think it’s such an important trait to pass down to your children.  If you’re a bookworm reading this, chances are, you agree!

Here are some inevitable side effects of letting your kids read books.

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Your child will become a good human being.

What?  Oh no!  Compassion and empathy?  Responsibility?  “Those are the worst things!” said nobody ever.  By watching how characters interact with one another, children can learn the proper (and improper) way to behave.  Also, most picture books are based around things like “Understanding that wolf is not your grandmother” and “A person’s a person no matter how small” so those important life lessons are imbedded anyway.

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Your child will be a Hermione.

I mean, nobody loves an insufferable know-it-all.  Why learn things like global warming and the history of Rome from a book when you could be lying on your belly on the floor wishing you had something interesting to do.

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Your child will have an imagination.

The problem with imaginations is that it gives children the ability to accept that not all things are explainable.  To look for unicorns in the forest.  To have some suspension of disbelief.  Also possibly to think that every noise at night could be a murderous ghost.  And with an imagination they may want to do something like write a book and OMG can’t have that.

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Your child will learn that the world is big and there’s lots of stuff in it.

What, diversity!?  There’s more than trees or skyscrapers?  People with other skin colors and religious beliefs?  Well that can’t be right.  It’s best to keep the younglings in their wee circles.  (No it’s not) (Not even a little.) (EXPERIENCE THE WORLD AND BE FREE!)

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Your child will spend MORE time with you which is what you always wanted.

Because after a long hard day and coming home to mess and broken things and OH MY GOSH WHERE DID THAT ENERGY COME FROM?!  The next definitely thing you want to do is hand out with the kids and not have a nice bath or a hot tea.  But deep down inside we all know that it’s actually true that the sweet wind down before bed is actually really nice and it’s now a tradition, too late.

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Your child will lose all social skills because reading is better.

People who have books don’t need friends.  Unless those friends also read books?  What about the same books?  THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT THEM FOREVER BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE.  Also possibly learning about social interactions from books?  Can we get more children’s books with introverts?

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Your child will learn the word “defenestrate” and you get to explain it.

Big words are actually one of the most fun things about reading.  Especially the sort of words that won’t show up on a spelling list?  Like defenestrate?  Who will ever need to use that contextually?  But still.  +10 points English language for having a word that means “to throw somebody out a window”.

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Your child will have the opportunity to talk about being different.

Since we’re not all made from the same cookie cutter, it’s inevitable that your child will feel in some way that he or she does not belong.  This can be for any reason ranging from hair color to sexual identity.  With the improvement of diversity in books, it creates a forum for children to ask questions about these things and learn about both the world and themselves.

See, this one was an important one.  No snark.

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Your child will learn that they can read and play hockey.

See, you don’t have to be a Sports Person or a Book Person.  There’s no reason why kids can’t “cross genres” per se.  I think that the Jock/Nerd rivalries are completely ridiculous and parents need to stop encouraging those lines.  Play football.  Read Harry Potter.  Don’t let social tropes define your children’s lives.

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Your child will prance around the house pointing a stick and screaming, “Accio Ice Cream!

Yeah, was that just me then?

Fun fact:  if you glare and point at something long enough and say “Accio!” usually someone else in the room will get exasperated enough that they stand up and get it for you.

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Did your parents read to you as a child?

Do you (or do you plan to) nourish a love for reading in your own children/cats?

What was your favorite book as a kid?
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For more fun books about this weeks theme (children and books) check out the Top Ten Tuesdays linkup!

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12 responses to “The Importance of Reading with Children

  1. Danielle

    My earliest memory from reading is my dad reading Bernstein Bears in my room before bed when I was about 5. <3 I hope my kids are as in love with books and reading as I am. If not, then I'll force them lol.

    • Amber

      I 100% approve of this idea.

      I remember reading the Bernstein Bears as well! Little Golden Books, too. I think that kids tend to follow in the footsteps of their parents. I have yet to see a child who has been read to as a child and brought up with it who hates reading/books. 🙂

  2. I rember my dad always reading to me bwfore bed when I was little. I even got to pick the books 😂. I wasn’t a bookworm when I was little though AND I REGRET IT SO MUCH. Reading really makes you a more compassionate and open human being!! I shall make my smol cousins read now MUAHAHA

    • Amber

      It’s a better way to spend time with your cousins than watching tv, for example! 😛 I think there are plenty other ways to be compassionate and open as well, but reading can be one of them. 😉

    • Amber

      Thank you! You know, I started writing this as a big list of stuff I’ve hoarded for my someday children, but it felt too much like a previous post. I’m glad I decided to branch it out to a slightly different theme!

      I find it really interesting that nearly everyone is saying their dad read to them. I wonder what the moms were doing? I don’t remember mine ever reading to me either, which is funny because my mum is a reader and my dad isn’t!

    • Amber

      I completely agree. While my friends’ kids do read, my niece and nephew aren’t really into it. It’s interesting to see how DIFFERENT the four kids’ personalities are and wonder if it was a factor! (All the kids are great, just different).

  3. My parents were really great about getting me into reading when I was little (I think they might slightly regret that now, but oh well, too late 😉). For me first birthday, apparently they hosted a book themed party, and asked everyone to bring me books as a gift. If that’s not great parenting, I don’t know what is. I’m so glad my parents encouraged my love of reading, and if I ever have children, I will definitely try to pass the favour on to theme s I think it was one of the most amazing things my parents could have done for me.

    • Amber

      That is excellent parenting! And it’s funny – so many parents will plop their kids in front of a TV or (more commonly these days) hand them their phone and let them go wild on YouTube… but books will hold their attention much longer and more fully because more focus is required. The media-crazed parents are really only hurting themselves! 😛