The Benefits, Rewards and Pleasures of Reading to Children

*Click here to read another post in the Women Mentoring Women series

One of my goals for Purposeful Homemaking in 2013 is to present you with a godly mentor once a month. My prayer is that by having these women share a topic from their heart you will be blessed and encouraged.
Today's guest writer is Marianne. Please take a moment as she shares with us today about the benefits of reading aloud to children.

"Once upon a time…." These words evoke a memory within many of us of fairy tales, knights in armor, princes on white horses, maidens in distress or lands far away. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my mother reading fairy tales to my siblings and I.  I don’t remember if it was a nighttime ritual or something she did once in a while, but I do remember those times as special – where I enjoyed a closeness to my mom that wasn’t always available growing up with 7 siblings.

Have you ever noticed that when your child hands a book to you to read to them, they will hold their arms up to be lifted to your lap or often lean back into you looking for the cozy spot on your lap that they associate with being read to? 
That’s because it’s more than a request to be read to. It is as much a request to sit close to you, snuggle or lean against you. Even when your children reach the age where they are reading well and can read for themselves, they will still enjoy the closeness they experience when you are reading to them.
They also enjoy having your undivided attention.  With the barrage of TV, electronics and hectic schedules, what better way to slow things down, especially as bedtime approaches?  If this is a regular part of your schedule they will learn to look forward to it.  The animals, adventures, and people they encounter in books will be in their imaginations instead of a video game screen.
I recently had to spend time in an airport waiting for a delayed flight. I saw numerous children being entertained with various electronic devices. However, one mother was sitting over in a corner reading to her son. He was sitting on her lap and they were just enjoying the time together. While I personally don’t have anything against electronic entertainment sources, I think they are sometimes over-relied upon.  Reading together provides an interaction and a closeness that electronics can’t provide. 

As your children or grandchildren grow older and can read for themselves, or entertain themselves, the time spent enjoying a book together is still worthwhile. There are plenty of studies out there that outline the educational benefits of reading to your child.  However, the emotional benefits to both you and your child or grandchild are endless. 

Reading funny or sad stories, Bible stories or stories with a dilemma or moral often can open avenues of discussion on topics that would not naturally come up in other ways. It is our great opportunity and privilege to encourage, explain, laugh, teach and exhort in a warm atmosphere of closeness, hugging and snuggling.

Marianne and her husband, Mel
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