In life, readers possess a terrific advantage. Award-winning author, Kate DiCamillo, wrote, “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” By giving this gift to our young children, we set them up for success in any domain they choose. Let’s nourish their appetite for reading by making it a fun, normal routine.
Introduce reading when they are very young—before they can even speak. While babies may not understand the words, reading aloud helps us connect with nurturing love and reassurance. Award-winning author, Emilie Buchwald, wrote, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” When we read regularly to babies on through toddlerhood, we let them know from a very young age that reading is something to be valued. Side conversations about stories can help children make sense of the world, prompting thoughts and ideas about themselves and their own lives. Reading together fosters the father-child bond, creates memories, and gives children another event to look forward to with their dad.
Make Reading Fun!
Read expressively and let yourself go! At suspenseful moments in the story, slow the pace and whisper. When there is a surprise, a shriek will be something a toddler happily anticipates each time the story is read. Don’t hold back, include expressive hand motions and sound effects. Be dramatic—each time you read these stories (toddlers love repetition) your kiddo will eagerly look forward to dad’s theatrics!
Loving Books from a Young Age
When it’s time to read, put every comfort in play. Warm feelings of cuddling together and feeling a father’s love should be a child’s earliest associations with reading. As children grow and become more independent readers, allow 20 – 30 minutes of bedtime reading before lights out. This routine settles the mind and body, positioning reading as a positive experience at the end of the day.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one in three American children start kindergarten without the skills needed to learn to read. Let’s raise our children with books! Help them “SAY YES TO READING!” Words from pages are more descriptive than movies or everyday conversation; reading enhances vocabulary and reinforces formal grammatical structure. Children who are regular readers are better able to convey their thoughts and articulate their ideas. Let’s ask ourselves, “Do I want my children to have more language skills—or less?”
Self-Discipline & Concentration
Very young children rarely sit still for long; getting them to focus can be challenging. By integrating scheduled reading time into their routine, we are reserving a time block specifically to concentrate on sharing a story with dad. Toddlers may initially squirm and get distracted, but they’ll eventually overcome fidgety behaviors and pay attention. It’s up to fathers to stay the course; our consistency capitalizes on the fundamental package deal of improved focus, longer attention spans, and better memory retention.
Imagination & Creativity
Young children have a natural capacity to dream big. American novelist, George R.R. Martin, wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” When we read aloud to children, their imaginations open wide to explore people, places, times, and events beyond themselves. New worlds leap into their imagination, influencing bigger dreams, more creativity, and better life prospects. Literature is one of the best ways to help children understand a phenomenon without necessarily getting to experience it for themselves. Unlike watching movies, reading allows us to interpret tales with our own personal creative pleasures. Frederick Douglass said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Passport to Another World
Introduce the library as a passport to a whole world of books! Make a big deal of a child’s first library card—it is a gift and a privilege! Regular library visits can easily be part of any family’s life, a regular routine for children can count on and look forward to. Teach children to keep their library books in one place so the family isn’t scrambling to find the books upon their due date. It may be best to take out the same number of books for each visit. Perhaps children are allowed to select three books per visit, and we supplement that with two additional books chosen by dad. Come the due date, everyone knows that five books must be returned. Make frequent adventures to the children’s room of the local public library—get them excited about new books—before they even know how to read.
Lifelong Love of Reading
Every time we read to a child, we can intentionally send a pleasure message to their brain. If we condition children to associate books with good vibes, they’ll be inclined to form a connection with reading, a bond that may grow into a lifelong commitment to learning. Self-help literature can be an excellent resource for those seeking to make improvements in any domain. An expert has dedicated much of his or her life to the mastery of a specific subject, structured a pre-formatted guide, and made it available for us to read and study. Greek philosopher, Socrates, said about self-development, “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.”
American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, said, “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” French philosopher, René Descartes, wrote, “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.” American story teller and author, Roald Dahl, wrote, “If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” Napoleon Bonaparte, wrote, “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”
Unfortunately, millions of children are not regular readers. If we haven’t already plugged our family into its power, let the abundant evidence of history inspire a headfirst dive into making reading part of our regular family routine. One of a father’s primary jobs is to teach his children to prioritize reading; it can be the catalyst that helps them create their brightest possible future.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” —2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV
This book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to “judge a book by its cover,” and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.