January 3, 2013 - 10:19 — Anonymous

I always start January with a list of resolutions for the coming year. By February, my enthusiasm has waned. And by March, I've usually given up completely! I did make one resolution that I stuck to for years---I read to my children every night. In this day and age of smartphones, tablets and apps, you may wonder what is so special about reading to your child.

adult and child reading togetherReading aloud to children is one of the best ways to help them discover the joys of reading. It's never too early- or too late - to start. All children, even infants and teens, can benefit from listening to you read aloud. Reading aloud helps language development. Babies learn words when they hear them directly from the person speaking to them. This is a skill that they can't learn from radio or television. Picture books contain rare or uncommon words we don't use in everyday conversation. Hearing and seeing these words increases your child's vocabulary. Reading will aslo help to develop attention span and memory. Watching television teaches children to get information in short, fast, scattered sound bites. Reading, on the other hand, requires a thoughtful presence of mind extended over a longer period of time. Even a wiggley toddler will enjoy sitting for a moment and looking at a book with you. The best reason to read with your child? It's fun!

When the snow falls and the cold winds blow, pick out your three favorite stories, grab your child, and as children's author Mem Fox advises, "Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud."     

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