Why do we Read to Children?
Let’s stop and really think about this for a moment together. Why do we read to children? There can be many answers ranging from”to settle them down before bedtime” to “keeping them still for a moment”, but first and foremost it is to teach them. We read to the youngest children to teach them about letters, words and sentences; the tools we use to communicate thoughts and ideas.
We read to preschoolers to teach them everything from identifying animals and the sounds they make, to personal hygiene. We read to the youngest students to teach them to read, preparing them for a future of reading for life.
As young minds develop they can absorb so much and learn so much from being read the kind of books that will challenge their thinking. When we select a book for a child, we should be selecting something that will teach them not only at their level right now, but that will answer questions they may have later; that will lead them along a path of beginning to see things beyond the words, that will teach them as much as possible. Time spent reading is never wasted, but time spent reading something that will teach a child to think beyond the story is some of the most valuable time you can invest in a child.
If we read to children with the intent of teaching them more, they will learn more. If they learn more, they will have more information in their mind’s toolbox to use as life’s situations arise. Teaching to read and reading to teach are among the most important things anyone can do for a child.