Why Reading to Our Kids Matters: A Personal Reflection

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Most people don’t know this about me, but I didn’t learn to read until fairly late, and I struggled with reading all the way through high school and into college. I have distinct memories in kindergarten and first grade of other students reading books and wanting to learn how to do this myself. I wondered why teachers chose to read with those kids and not me, and why reading seemed to come so naturally to them. I had no way of knowing back then, but as I would learn in later years, most of those kids came from families where their parents read to them on a daily basis.

Fast-forward 32 years. I obviously learned to read, and now I basically read (and write) for a living. It’s funny how God works to redeem and redirect us by His grace. But more important than what I now do for a living, I am now a daddy of four beautiful children: two sets of twins. I’m fortunate to be married to an extremely talented teacher, the lovely Tara Dew, who grew up reading massive amounts of books with her family. And admittedly, because of my work outside the home, Tara does most of the reading with our little ones, even though I take every opportunity that I can to snuggle up and read with them myself. She’s taught them well, and it’s amazing to watch them do things at the ages of 8 and 5 that I could not do until much later in life. I’m grateful! I’m grateful that their start was so different from mine, and excited to see how God might use that.

I’m also challenged by their progress. I’m challenged to pour myself into them. Our (as in you and me) time reading to them and with them provides the environment for them to learn to read. It gives them a safe place to practice, encouragement in their failure, confidence in their success, and a sense of adventure found in the world of books. But our time reading with our kids also communicates our love for them and our commitment to them. It shows them that they are worth our attention and our energy. It shows them that we will stand by them and be there for them whether they succeed or fail. I assure you that these are all things our children need to know, and they need to be reminded of it often.

So, let’s be faithful to them. Let’s take time to sit with them and read. It’s not the only thing that we must do, but it is something we cannot miss. Our children are worth it!

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