Why we must encourage our children to read books

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There is this saying that;“If you want to hide something from an African, write it in a book.” That is probably one of the saddest quotes out there about Africa. It is not true and stereotypical. But one alarming fact is that many children all over the world nowadays cannot read and write well. It is a travesty and our job is to prevent it, just like global warming, from getting worse. As much as we want to teach our children to conserve and preserve the earth, how much more should we teach their generation to conserve and preserve their own minds?

Child reading
Child reading.

Image from https://www.pinterest.com/source/childrensillustrators.com/

There is this saying that;“If you want to hide something from an African, write it in a book.” That is probably one of the saddest quotes out there about Africa. The same statement is becoming even more applicable to this generation all over the world. It is a travesty and our job is to prevent it, just like global warming, from getting worse. As much as we want to teach our children to conserve and preserve the earth, how much more should we teach their generation to conserve and preserve their own minds?

Why should you teach your children to read?

Reading and a love for books is something that is severely lacking in the present generation, but we can change that. Why? You may ask. Because a child who appreciates the beauty of words experiences the freedom that only words can bring.

1. Reading gives the brain a workout. Let’s be honest, sometimes the simplest thing to do when you’re tired and really don’t want to deal with your children’s whining is put them in front of the T.V or on a couch and let them watch cartoons. That may be true but again being honest; it’s not making them any smarter!

Yes there are educational shows like Dora the Explorer and shows that teach manners or the importance of friendship like Barney, -which I adored as a kid by the way- but they are probably putting no more effort into it than they would be trying to watch grass grow. It is scientifically proven that a book will exercise your brain while continuously binge watching your T.V like an addict will do more harm than good. Teaching your child to read books gives them a mental workout.

2. Reading increases Knowledge. Loving to read will honestly give your child an advantage in the world. With the wide variety of topics to cover one who reads will know a bit more than the average person.

3. Reading increases Creativity. Creativity is at the heartbeat of books. Reading stimulates the brain into formulating ideas which lead to creative thinking. Most of the great visionaries of the World were readers!

4. Reading = Imagination. It cannot be stated enough, the critical importance of a child’s imagination. A book allows the brain to go free, to wonder across the globe with the main character. Books are not limited to time, space, place, or form. It’s very appealing to a child to be able to be anyone, do anything, or go anywhere they want to go. It’s why nearly every game a child plays is a game of pretend. Books open up their eyes to the possibilities.

The importance of reading aloud: Tips for reading to children

How to teach your children to read and love it!

Read them bedtime stories. I personally fell in love with reading and stories, when I was but a child. My mom would read bed time stories for me and my brother going to sleep. Memories I will forever have are of us sitting next to her on her bed as she read stories of child characters like us who had crazy adventures, after which we would say our bedtime prayer and go to sleep.

Before I knew it I would read stories for myself. I fell in love with Nancy drew and her uncanny knack for solving mysteries, the famous five’s ability to make everything alright in the end, and the secret seven’s never-ending roller coaster adventures. I read stories about ponies and princesses, and everything that a ten year old girl wants to become in her imagination.

Read to Them. Make it a habit at night to either read a small adventure book, or even a small part of a bigger book, like a chapter to keep them in suspense until the next day.

Make it a memorable Experience. Make it your bonding time with your child, and read the stories right! Use gasps, actions, appropriate sounds, and anything that you possibly can to make the unfolding story an exciting adventure. Believe me, your kids will forever have those memories, and you may end up enjoying the process more than you expect.

Boy reading. Image from www.Hajabar.com
Boy reading. Image from www.Hajabar.com

Get age Appropriate Books. A ten year old doesn’t enjoy the same books that a five year old would. Don’t just put them all into a category labeled kids. Learn to notice the different needs. As a child grows, so will their interest in more mature books. Aid the process by making sure those books are available to them.

Be involved and make it fun. You can make reading books in your household a game, like who will read the most books in a month. Or making it a rule that after every book read one should give an oral report. Giving prizes to the winner of the most read books, or the best oral report.

Give them a good example by reading yourself.  Fact:A child looks up to his or her parents and wants to follow in their footsteps. If you are continuously reading and talking about the stories your read with your children in a manner they can understand, then it cultivates an interest in them to be like you. If you don’t read at all, you lessen the likelihood of a reading interest being developed.

It is hard but worth It. Cultivating your family to develop reading habits is a lot of work, and buying a T.V and a DSTV decoder is probably the easy way out. Believe me though when I say, your reward will be far greater than the effort you put into it. A love of reading will honestly open up limitless potential in your child’s future and if you truly want what is best for them and their generation, it will be a process you would be willing to not only endure, but enjoy.

Read here http://bilingualmonkeys.com/43-great-quotes-on-the-power-and-importance-of-reading/ for a few quotes on the importance of reading.

Sesame Street: Let’s Read a Book Song shows you why you need to read to your children.

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