In many ways, helping our children develop a love of literature early on in life is one of the most significant things we can do as parents. For some individuals, early family experiences with reading have led to successful careers: No less a writer than Stephen King credits his career as an author to the love of books that he developed as a child through his mother’s influence.
Here are just a few important reasons to read with your kids. It just might change their life!
- Reading Builds Useful Skills
When we read to or read with our kids, there can be little doubt that we help them strengthen their language skills. This may not seem like such a big deal when kids are still too small to go to school or are just getting the hang of grade school. However, reading comprehension skills are extremely valuable in both high schools and higher education. Learning to love reading at an early age is an investment that can pay off in later life.
- Reading Teaches Moral Lessons
Before the latter half of the 20th Century, education at the best schools in the world primarily revolved around reading Latin and Greek texts. Indeed, great poets like Percy Shelley and Lord Byron were fluent in these languages thanks to the teachers that they had at preparatory schools like Eton and Harrow.
Those teachers of a bygone age may have been on to something: In great works of ancient literature like Homer’s “Odyssey” or the letters of the Roman philosopher Seneca, moral teachings hold a preeminent place within the text. By reading the legendary stories of Homer or engaging with the social and political histories of Thucydides, in other words, students learned about the difference between helpful and harmful actions.
That doesn’t mean that we need to start teaching our kids how to speak Latin. Kids learn about virtuous behaviors and the importance of separating right from wrong from their stories’ heroes.
- Reading Together is Fun for Everyone!
Above all else, reading with your kids is just plain fun. Reading good books with your kids is a lot like going on an adventure: Whether you’re both accompanying Frodo and the other hobbits on their quest to Mordor or preparing for a journey with Milo and Tock past the Phantom Tollbooth, reading is a chance to escape into rewarding and perpetually engaging worlds. Parenthood doesn’t get much more fun than that!