Family Literacy Day

Nov 1 / TEKU

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Our busy lives may get so overwhelming at times, pushing important activities to the sidelines.  But just as we develop habits to brush our teeth, wash our hands and be “productive” in our everyday lives, so can we create a habit of reading with our kids! Reading has so many benefits for our health and overall development, and on this National Family Literacy Day we would love to share some of them with you. 

Cognitive Development

Reading out loud to a child can help them strengthen their cognitive skills. These skills are the ones helping the child think, understand and process information.  They help kids enhance their memory and develop their language and communication skills. We must remember that children’s brains are developing and growing at a rapid rate, so adding such a beneficial activity such as reading can have profound positive effects on their development. This will help them become better at expressing themselves, understanding complex ideas and even do better academically. 

Improve language skills and preparing for academic success

A study featured on Time demonstrated that “reading at home with children from an early age was strongly correlated with brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language.” Reading to children not only helps them form stronger vocabulary, but it helps build a strong foundation for understanding the meaning of language.  This strengthens their language and communication skills which results in improved readiness to learn when they start school.  Ultimately, these pathways contribute to their academic success. 

Imagination and creativity

Children make use of imagination as a way to understand their reality and explore possibilities. Reading out loud to your child helps foster imagination and creativity by allowing them to be exposed to different settings, characters, places, time periods and scenarios they may not have encountered before. This creative spark encourages innovative thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. As your child grows older and can read on their own, reading books can help them explore places, stories and perspectives that can help expand their horizons.

Building empathy and connection

Exposing your children to different experiences through reading can allow them to be more open to other’s unique situations and become more empathetic to them. This is why it is very important that our libraries are diverse. Books like “And that’s their family” by Kailee Coleman are a great way to introduce differences in the way people live, highlighting the beauty of diversity to young children in an age appropriate and respectful manner. Building empathy is essential for interpersonal relationships in the future, ultimately supporting your child’s connectedness!

Emotional bonding with your child

Reading together allows for that special bond you have with your child to grow stronger. Making reading a part of your routine ensures you will spend time with them doing something you both enjoy. Having a set time of when this activity will take place and sticking to it everyday will allow them to build their trust with you. Even if babies may not be able to follow the story along, this uninterrupted time with you will strengthen their connection to you, provide a sense of reassurance and develop a more secure attachment. As new parents, we sometimes think we must read every single word and page to get “the most” out of this experience, but the opposite is true! It’s not that you must follow the book word by word, page by page, but instead focus on following your child’s interest! Allow them to turn the page, point to things on the book and ask questions. This incredible opportunity for bonding helps their growth in so many ways.

Lifelong Love for Reading

Nurturing a love for reading from an early age is a gift that keeps on giving. Children who are read to are more likely to become avid readers themselves. This love for books becomes a lifelong source of pleasure, knowledge and personal growth. It is also an interest and connection you and your child will share forever. Allow your child to choose books as much as possible. As your kid gets older, you may consider setting up a “family reading time” so everyone can enjoy independent reading or perhaps cultivate a family tradition to read together no matter the age!

Reading to children is a gift that shapes their lives in profound ways. It enhances cognitive development, fosters imagination and creativity, cultivates empathy and builds emotional bonds. The benefits extend into academic success and create a lifelong love for reading. So, let’s celebrate National Family Literacy Day by nurturing the young minds of our little ones with the magic of reading. 
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