Earlier in the year I read a statistic that as a book lover really surprised me. I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while. It was the result of a UK Study that found that only half of pre-schoolers are being read to everyday, which is a huge drop from 69% in 2013. As an advocate of children’s reading this statistic makes me sad. Children that are read to are known to better at school, have a greater vocabulary, it helps to develop their imaginations and empathy. It’s also such a great bonding thing you can do with your child, especially as part of their bedtime routine.
I love reading with my children, in fact it’s often the favourite part of my day. Now that my son will often cuddle up with a novel and happily read on his own, he still likes to join me and his younger siblings for a story at bedtime. It’s a cosy thing we all like to do together and on busy days we just choose a shorter book and it takes less than ten minutes.
Collette from We’re Going on an Adventure, who is also a primary school teacher wrote about a similar stat on her blog on her post – Please Just read with your Child – where she shares just how important reading is for your child’s education:
“In my opinion, reading with your child is the single most important thing you can do to help your child at school. “
A powerful statement, but one I agree with. Reading with your children when they are small leads to a love of reading that they can grow themselves and will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
I love Jocelyn from The Reading Residence’s approach when she was asked if she makes her children read:
“Reading in our house is not seen as an ‘educational activity’ or ‘homework’, though of course it’s often both. Reading is what we do, just as we watch TV, listen to music and play. Reading does not live in a separate box to all other normal daily activities. Reading is not a chore, it is not a ‘must-do’, it’s an enjoyable part of life.”
This is exactly how it is in our life, our children see my husband and I read, we engage in reading and books together, there are always books to hand and we go to the library for fun. I also buy books if I see them that I think my children will enjoy to help encourage and excite them about books. My advice would be to always make reading fun from when they’re small and it will always be something they look forward to.
For some tips on how to foster a love of reading in your household, then have a read of Here Come the Girls blog post 5 Ways to Encourage a Love of Reading with some great tips, as well as how to make books come to life with creative craft activities.
If you have a baby and are not sure how to go about introducing books into their lives, Mamma Filz has written a guest post for Book Bairn on the baby books she loved reading to her daughters when they were small. My favourite first books with my babies have been Dear Zoo by Eric Carle and the ever popular Hungry Caterpillar – two books you cannot go wrong with.
What if your children are older and they just don’t want to read? I love author and blogger Nikki Young’s post on how she encouraged her daughter who didn’t like reading at all to read. She shares on how she found an old box of books in her Mum’s loft full of classics that inspired her as child and sat down and read them with her daughter. And that even better it worked.
It’s never too late to introduce books into your children’s lives, to share something with them. If they are older read a chapter book with them, read it together and speculate what’s going on and what’s going to happen next.
If you are one of the 49% of people that don’t manage to read to your child everyday why not make today the day you change? Make it fun, use puppets, funny voices, cuddle up together and I promise you, you won’t regret it.