The Gift of Reading
Like many traditions, this one began without intentionality.
I love books.
I love reading and learning.
And so as I began having children, one of my favorite things to do with them was to read them stories. I was a push-over for “one more story, Mommy” rest time after rest time and bedtime after bedtime. I loved having my little ones snuggle close to me and listen quietly to my reading. Well, most of the time they listened quietly, especially when we graduated from Pat the Bunny and Good Night, Moon. And there were many stories that I loved as much as they did.
Looking back on the years I did home-schooling, I have no idea how I did that and survived. My favorite time of the day was when the two toddlers took naps and the four older kids and I would sit on the couch and read. One year we read every book in the Little House series and some days we’d sit there for over an hour lost in the adventures of Laura Wilder and her family.
Sometime in that season of my life I began consciously buying my kids books every year for Christmas. I’m sure I bought books for special occasions from the time I only had one or two kids. But during that home school journey I realized that I wanted to give them something that would last every year, and books last. One Christmas I bought a particular gift bag for each of my six and that became their book bag every year. Even as adults they will find a book or two in their bag if they are home for Christmas.
Recently I read an article on the value of books and reading to our children. It was conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts and among the conclusions are these two statements:
- Books in the home, even if they aren’t necessarily read by the parents, promote better scores not only in English, but also in science and math.
- Shelves of books are more important than income or parental education background. Students of high-school educated parents living in homes with more than 100 books outscored students with college-educated parents and 0-10 books at home.
This is an easy tradition to begin if you are looking for new ones for your family. Reading to your kids is easy and rewarding both to the parents and to the children – even teens. It opens doors to adventure, learning, other countries and people and times, and it feeds a child’s soul.