The world is full of wonders, beauty, curiosity, change, life, history, religion, diversity….There is so much to know, to learn, to become, so much to ponder on, so much to help satiate our ever wondering minds. The only way to open up your mind unlocking the these invaluable gems of knowledge is by reading. If you wish to broaden your perception of the world, be more coherent in speech, more expressive in your writing, be more selective in your choices and be a thinker then you need to make a habit of reading on a regular basis. There are innumerable benefits of reading, although I’ve always made sure I’ve read to my children, I’ve recently realised that haven’t been giving it enough time myself (since Yusuf came along roughly a year ago). I relish the thought of slipping in to bed with a good book and hot mug of tea after a long exhausting day…and that is exactly what I have been doing lately.
I find that it is even more important to regularly read to children, the benefits of reading to children start at a very early stage, before they even understand words or what they mean. If you want your children to be smart, assertive and confident individuals then they need to have a love for reading. You may have heard the saying ‘Readers are made on the laps of their parents’. Every kind of knowledge is acquired by reading and there are so so many benefits for children. It’s definitely something we should make sure we do regularly with our children.
1. When you read to your child, this can be a special time when you can bond with one another on a one to one basis. With hectic family lives, multiple children or working parents it can be very hard to find one to one time for your child, this can be a time where you shower attention on your child and make them feel special. Not only will this one to one reading make your child feel more valued but it will also create a positive association with reading and a beautiful memory that they will have for the rest of their life.
2. It can improve your child’s communication with you and in general improve the child’s vocabulary, speech and sentence formation. Children who are read to more often do better at school with their studies, as they have better concentration which is exercised during these reading sessions.
3. Books can teach your child thinking skills early. When you read to your child, they learn to understand cause and effect, they learn to exercise logic, they learn the consequences of actions, and the basics of what is right and wrong. Many books teach children morals and correct behaviour through stories, you can also discuss and gently discipline your child through these conversations about different characters in the story.
4. When your child reaches a new stage in his growth, or experiences a new and unfamiliar situation, reading a story relevant to his new experience can help relieve his anxiety and cope better. For example, if your child is stressed about his first day in school, or about moving to a new location, you can read a book to him that shows these situations. Seeing the same thing happening in a story can be a source of consolation for your child.
5. When your child is older, reading can become a collective hobby/interest where you both can read the same books and talk about them with each other. I know when I read the same book as a friend we always have conversation about the plot, the characters…I can imagine that would be fun to do with my children too Insha’Allah.
6. When your child is a reader, he develops an appetite for knowledge. Reading contributes to the background knowledge of your child for a variety of subject areas including science, history, geography, math, and social studies. The more your child learns, the more he wants to know. Insha’Allah in the future your child will do better academically and in their career.
7. Children who go on to read good literature when a little elder usually are more empathetic and understanding towards other people, because good stories and literature is about the human condition, the thinking and the emotions of being human. Good literature values humanity and often teaches moral lessons sometimes intertwined with history and is without a doubt character-building food for the brain.
These are only some of the benefits of reading, I’m sure that there are many more. Reading to your child is such an investment that will reap great profits in the long term. Here are few tips that will help inculcate the love of reading in your children:
1. Make sure your children see you reading regularly, children always emulate their parents. Show your children that reading is part of life and tell them that ‘learning is a lifelong journey that never ends’
2. Never force your child to read or make it seem like it is a chore. Make it become a fun, pleasurable time that they enjoy. If they have positive associations with reading you will see that they will love it even more than watching tv or any other game.
3. Have a collection of books at home that the child can easily access themselves, keep your books on display so that your child can spontaneously reach for a book whenever they feel like it.
4. Read to your child every day and make it a special time for both of you to relax, enjoy and bond.
I hope you found this useful Insha’Allah.