Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Reading by Example

Goodnight room. Goodnight Moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. ~ Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon.

It is the good old summertime in the upper-plains states. It is the time for packing up the car and heading to the lakes, or other destinations for summer fun after the long winter. But, the vacation from school should not mean that it is a vacation from reading.

The primary reason teachers spend the first few weeks of school in review is because children lose some of what they learned the year before over the summer. This is one of the best times to make time for your children, especially small children who cannot yet read for themselves. Plan to spend one hour a day just reading and discussing a book with your child. 

Here’s some benefits to this:

Children spend hours every day in front of a screen – tablet, smartphone, TV, video game system, etc. Through reading your child a story before bed, you help them shutdown the effects of screen time from the day. It relaxes your child’s mind, so they can sleep better, and longer.

Reading to your child creates bonding and common ground between you and your child. This is a great time to choose stories that reflect your own values and beliefs, and where you stand on issues that affect your child: Bullying, tolerance, diversity, religious beliefs, nutrition, morality, civility and so on. This is the time your child is listening 100%. You will be grateful for it in their tween and teen years, because you have set the foundation.

When you pack for the annual summer camping trip or vacation to anywhere, make sure your older children take at least one book with them. I know, I know. The struggle is real with tweens and teens. You might be surprised when boredom strikes, as it always does, and you find them reading said book – just for something to do.

Don’t forget to pack a book for yourself, maybe two. Reading by example teaches children who you are, what your likes and dislikes are, and where your interests are. Did you know that most kids today do not know their parents? You might live in the same house, but do your kids really know you, or do they know of you? There’s a difference.

Reading teaches empathy – which is severely lacking in today’s society. It teaches imagination, innovation, and sparks the dream factor. Kids who do not read have less of an imagination than those who do. There is no more bankrupt a child than the child who cannot read. Parents play an important role in this. Children who cannot read, cannot do math, because they do not comprehend the problem – especially story problems. If your child is struggling in math, you might want to check how they are doing in reading.

More children, all across the world, are suffering from illiteracy. Children are struggling with the core subjects in school, simply because they cannot read. In the United States we have a secret plague that exists in the hallowed halls of our schools and even in our places of business, the functionally illiterate. People who can read well enough to get by, but not well enough to succeed. Don't let your child grow up this way, read to them and often. 

Through literature we learn to live, to love and to conquer.