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Daddy, Read Me a Story

Daddy, Read Me a Story

My mother tells me that when I was a child I could not get enough of the Dr. Seuss classic, The Cat in the Hat. I asked her to read it to me repeatedly. Eventually, as the years passed, she sat while I read it to her. Over and over we shared that book.

Yet as a father, it was high on my list of least favorite books, and I would try and suggest other books to my sons to distract them from that classic. It rarely worked, but like father, like son, they continuously craved it. Even as the monotony of the rhymes grated at me, I treasured the time I had as my sons cuddled up on my lap for story time. The connection was wonderful.

A few weeks ago, I shared this with some friends. Many of them said, “I wish I’d spent more time reading with my children. We watched and re-watched so many movies and TV shows. I should have spent more of that time reading with them.”

And it’s not just for the parent/child connect. A parent who encourages reading is helping the child’s development. A few years ago (27 April 2015) Time Magazine published an article outlining the benefits or reading to your child. Their study looked at a group of children, comparing their development. It was found that the children whose parents routinely read to them had an elevated level of comprehension of syntax, expanding vocabulary, and family bonding.

I have seen that result manifested in my children. As a teacher I have seen the same. When I ask my students, “Who reads a great deal?” usually those who respond that they read frequently are the academically superior students.

We (especially children) love stories. The words “once upon a time” engage an audience to listen. The words, “Let me tell you a story!” focuses a scattered mind.

And stories are fun. Reading stories allows us to escape in a way movies do not. We are drawn to the story because with little effort, we can place ourselves in the midst of the drama. Whereas screens are a framed window we passively peer into, reading draws us in and immerses us in the story.

Stories are often a fun way to teach as well. The Great Teacher knew the value of stories. Much of the biblically recorded teachings of Jesus are in the form of stories.

So read with your children. Read to them and let them read to you. If it’s a new story, stop midway and ask, “What do you think will happen next?”

Eventually you might want to ask them to write stories and read them to you. As they get older you can read works of nonfiction together. It may be that a book their teacher has assigned to them is one you could read as a family.

It is mid-September and many children are back into their school routines, but don’t let that be an excuse to stop reading with your children. The benefits are numerous, and the opportunities will quickly dwindle as they age. Tonight, go get a book, read it to your child, and make a memory.

By: Dave Trouten is the married father of two teenage boys and a division chair and professor of communication at Kingswood University.

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One Comment

  1. Don read to the girls and played games with them and prayed with them.Too busy being the wife,mother,teacher,I regret that I did not share these special times.Too busy with much ado about nothing,I forfeited the fun for the immediate tasks of housekeeping,cooking,disciplining…and daddy was the good parent leaving me to be the bad parent;the no-fun one.Just a little bit resentful,remembering I was the one who encouraged him to read with them,play with them and pray with them.When they left home,I was the one who answered the phone and always made sure he talked with them while hearing him say when he answered the phone first and hung up afterward that no they didn’t ask to speak with me.
    Sadly,when he died so suddenly,I was chastised by my children for being the survivor,as if I had not cared for him enough;had not loved him enough.
    Yes,it is wonderful when a father is there for his children to meet their physiccal,emotional and spiritual have raised two very fine sons but remind them from time to time that they have a mother who loves them and has cared for them in many ways…just my point of view.

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