“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” Emilie Buchwald
Saying you should read to your kids (or with them, or near them) is hardly controversial. Fellow parents, writers, teachers, doctors and psychologists have all been touting the benefits of co-reading for decades. Some studies have even noted that just having books in the house, and showing respect for language and story, can have positive, lasting effects on children. Benefits mentioned have included:
- teaching children a love of words, and a drive to be literate.
- creating a routine before bedtime that helps them fall asleep.
- allowing for parent-child bonding, and a giving a chance to catch up on the day’s events.
- finding an economical, accessible activity to do with children.
- providing an opportunity to include siblings, grandparents, and other family members.
- exploring a wide variety of subject areas and topics with children.
- encouraging cognitive and academic development that flows into all subject areas.
Even wiggly, reluctant readers can usually be tempted to snuggle up for a story, as long as something piques their interest and meets their needs. The wide variety of books available, and the number of different formats make it much easier for all kinds of wee minds to get engaged.
We’d like to add another benefit to the list. Reading with your kids not only helps them grow into better readers, but also into better thinkers. Diving into a good book helps to make children aware of other perspectives and possibilities, and it also opens the door for discussion of big questions and complex issues. What happens between a parent and child after a book is finished can be extremely powerful and transformative. There are critiques to be given, alternate endings to be written, and debates to be had over characters, plot points, and themes. In reading to our children, and then following up with dialogue, we are teaching them that they too are in the process of writing their own story, as are their parents, siblings, friends, and community members.
We have the privilege of being part of co-reading moments, and it’s something we don’t take lightly. Whatever your story time routine may be with your child, thank you for making room for our books. We look forward to creating more and more materials (in all kinds of formats) that help big thinkers and little thinkers come together in celebration of big ideas.