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Why is Reading to Children Important?

I have always felt like I knew why is reading to children important – from my own life experience. At that time in my children’s lives I remembered how hard it was for me in first grade at school. When the teacher read to us I was taken to a place that was magical and so unlike real life. I became an avid reader because of that first grade teacher, Mrs. McKenzie.

She opened up a whole new world for me. Mrs. McKenzie was the best person in my life outside of my family. First grade was really scary to me because we lived in the country and had no contact with other children my age. Well, we didn’t see many other people. So I got dropped off at school and everything was just, well, scary.

As this teacher seemed to understand me, I was drawn to her. She spent time reading to us and that was all new to me. Wow, the feelings I had when reading a book were so strong that by the time I was in grade school I was reading 4 or 5 books a week.

Mrs. McKenzie was the best. I wanted my children to grow up reading like I did. When I would read to my children it was like taking them on a trip. We could see the world and beyond from our living room.

I think I got this reading bug from my dad. He seemed to know what day I would show up with books from the library. Then, it did not matter if I had to read it for homework, he would take the book and not put it down until he had finished it. I soon learned that I had to hide the book I wanted to read first and I would get a book for him.

Oh yes, I did the same thing. I would get so engrossed with reading my book that I would stay up all night until I was finished. Soon, my mom realized that I couldn’t keep this up so she would come into my room and make me turn off the light. Well I lived on the second story of our house and she got tired of the steps. Yes, 19 steps up, and then again 19 steps down. I counted them so I could walk them in the dark. But that is another story…

For years, I never figured out how my mom knew my light was still on, and I was still reading. I thought she had a sixth sense. I still think she did. But I was so desperate to read, that I almost burned my bed up. I put my bedside lamp under my covers and tried to keep the light in. That didn’t work well so I had to remove the lamp shade. Well, you know what happens if the bulb touches the sheets; it burns the sheets. Lucky, I smelled smoke before it caught on fire.

I never had a problem after that. I put my sheets in the laundry, and I was horrified that the mattress was also scorched. I did not say anything and my parents did not say anything either, however, they never bothered me again about reading at night.

Later, when I was about 9 or 10 years old I was standing in the kitchen after dark. I could see a patch of light on the cow pasture below. I went to my room and turned off the light and the patch of light in the cow pasture disappeared. So, there was my answer. I still think she had a sixth sense. But that is also another story…

I know that this is a long story to illustrate why is reading to children so important. I think that with parents reading to their children it wakes up the child’s brain to all the wonderful things in this universe. I think that parents also get to learn many new things in life.

As I read to my grandkids now, I have learned many new things that have been discovered in science just in the last few years. There is always something to learn. Someone has learned something new and exciting, and figured out an interesting way to light up our brains; both adult and child. I can hardly wait to listen to the grandkids read their homework to me after school.

Now that I have grandchildren, I like to write the stories that will teach them about a life lesson. I like to figure out an entertaining way to deliver this story so they become intrigued.

I hope that all children want to read way into the night, and I would not try to stop them. They might burn the house down!

So please read to your children even before they are born. There are studies out there that state that the earlier you start reading to them, the more they understand. Kids learn more in the years before they start school than they do when they have teachers in school. I love that.

I often wonder what I would know if I had someone who understood why is reading to children important in those very young years before I started school. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t read.