The Benefits of Reading As a Family
Today's blog post was originally published at Familius.com.
One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is your time. Using that time to read together can create a special bond and inspire a love of reading. Reading together can benefit you and your family in countless ways. Family time, expanding communication and relieving stress are just a few of the many Benefits of Reading As a Family.
When children listen to a story, unlike watching it on television, they have to envision the characters and events themselves. Vivid stories allow children and adults to create their own interpretations of what an author has written.
Builds Stronger Brains
Listening to stories helps brains grow at any age. Children are learning language long before they start to produce their first words. Naturally, the conversation children hear around them helps to build their budding language comprehension and vocabulary. However, reading books exposes them to a wider array of words and language patterns.
Creates a Special Time Together
Especially with younger children, reading together is a special time to share a book’s delightful illustrations and story. As children get older and life gets busier, it’s worthwhile to find time to read together, one-on-one or as a special family activity everyone can participate in. With older children, it can be a fun way to connect — a piece of common ground you can all talk about and share.
Inspires Love of Reading
Children learn by observing the people around them, and when they see your love of reading, including reading aloud, they will want to read, too.
Taking some time to read together when things are stressful can be an opportunity to concentrate on a book instead of other problems and issues. That shift in focus can be a much-needed chance to pause, regroup and find some inner calm during difficult times.
Provides a Pleasant Routine
The end of the day can be a struggle sometimes as you get your children ready for bed. Carving out time to read together can give everyone in the family a little breather. Making it a regular part of the daily routine, whether at bedtime or another time of day, turns it into an event everyone can look forward to sharing together.
Is a Way to Address Difficult Issues
Discussing challenging, controversial or sensitive topics can feel uncomfortable. Or, you may not feel confident initiating a conversation about a particular subject. Reading a book together about that topic can be a more comfortable introduction and create an opportunity to explore everyone’s thoughts and feelings more easily.
What to Read Together?
What should you choose to read together? The short answer is: whatever you like! The longer answer is that the more you read together, the more your family will have a collective sense of the styles of books you all enjoy reading together. Don’t limit yourself though — try some outside your comfort zone and you might surprise yourselves and find some new favorites. If you have older children, consider using some of your reading-together time to explore nonfiction.
How to Read Together
There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Find a time to begin, maybe a Sunday afternoon hour of reading together works well with your family’s schedule. Choose a great book to start — will everyone vote from a shortlist of choices or is someone nominated to select the first book? Do you have eager readers who want to participate, or is your family happier to listen to just one of you reading? The best way to do it is just to start and find what works as you go.