Have you ever watched the movie Matilda? As a kid it was one of my favorite movies. I remember one of the lines the dad says in the movie is “there’s nothing you can get from a book that you can’t get from a television faster.” Not to age myself, but I was 9 when the movie released, and even then I wanted to shout “you’re wrong!” at the screen. But that’s the world we live in today isn’t it? People spend several hours each day in front of their televisions and/or their phones or other devices. It has literally become and addiction. When I was a kid it wasn’t abnormal to be a big reader. Nowadays it’s abnormal if you aren’t permanently attached to a screen. Even the way we read books has changed so that they can be read on electronic devices instead of being opened up and turning the pages. (sorry, not to knock e-books, just trying to make a point). Nothing is left to imagination anymore!
Reading is so important to start young. When you’re kids are too young to read on their own, read to them! I watch a little 3-year-old girl from my church on Thursday nights, and can I tell you how much joy it brings me to see how excited she gets to read books with me? Last week I thought it was the cutest thing that when I told her I got a book from the library and she asked me what it was about. (It was A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green so I just told her that “it was about a lady who lived a long time ago,” to make it simple). She then said “Oh, maybe I can read it sometime,” before telling me about a book she read with her mom earlier that she liked and was able to tell me the full summary of the book. So basically I had a book club meeting with a 3-year-old 🙂
It’s so important to get kids excited about reading books from a young age! Just ask Google! You won’t see anything negative about reading aloud to kids. The benefits are immense and it really only takes a small amount of time out of your day. It’s not only fun, but actually helps your kids develop! Kids who are read to learn literacy faster, but helps them in several ways academically as well as aid in their emotional development and the development of empathy.
I’ve seen that kids will often find fun what their role models find fun. If you show excitement over reading a new book, or express interest in what they are reading, you’d be amazed at the responses you can get! One problem that I’ve seen especially for kids ages 10-14 or so, is finding age-appropriate books that are at their reading level. It feels as if books go directly from kids to adults without having an in-between. In recent years teen and young adult books have becoming increasingly popular, but at the same point many of them have become darker and more explicit only increasing the need for more discernment. There are several times that I’ve tried finding good teen or adult books that are clean for younger advanced readers. Having said that, it’s why I add an “age appropriateness” section to my reviews.
Read! Read your Bible. Read the book before the movie. Read to your kids (and if you don’t have any- read to your siblings, nieces & nephews, cousins, kids you babysit, etc). I used to even read to one of my aunts who had too poor of vision to be able to read on her own. Put down the screen and stretch your own imagination. There are so many advantages that go beyond literacy. An article posted in 2015 states: “There is strong evidence that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and the risk of dementia, and improve wellbeing throughout life.” It goes far beyond the physical act of reading words on a page.
I want to encourage you now, to put down your phone, put down your tablet, turn off the television, and read a book 🙂 Oh the places you can travel and explore with just a little imagination!