Do you remember sitting down with your parents and reading a picture story book when you were younger? Perhaps you remember sitting in class, bright eyed and enthusiastic as the teacher read you your favorite picture story book. Whether those memories are sharp in your mind, or whether they are buried subconsciously, those magical sessions played a vital role in shaping your future.
Children love picture story books, they thrive on them, and whilst reading to your child will certainly give them a head start on their educational journey, there are many more far greater (and often overlooked) benefits than this. Books are central to a child’s emotional and social development. They learn valuable life lessons from them. They develop a love for reading from them. They make connections between books and happiness. They learn that reading is beautiful gift, to be treasured forever. They create deeper bonds with their family members while being read to. Books spark a child’s imagination and ignite a passion for knowledge.
Now I’m not a parent but I sometimes feel like I am the mother (and I do get called mum at least once a day) to my 20 students and it’s crazy to see how quickly they grow, learn, change and evolve. Coming into grade three they absolutely love being read to, they soak it up like tiny sponges, staring up at the pictures with keen eyes. By the end of grade four that excitement starts to dwindle and despite my (most likely over-the-top) enthusiasm, many of them are beginning to “grow out” of these beautiful books. I am so lucky that I get to cherish these moments and I always remind myself to make the most of every one of these reading sessions with my students.
Remember your little ones are not going to be little forever. There will come a time when they don’t need you to read to them, they don’t want you to read to them and (heaven forbid) they may not even like picture story books anymore!
So next time your child asks you to read them yet another story before bed, rub the sleep out of your eyes, choose a book from the shelf and read it to them just one… more… time… (and why not make that story “Milly’s Journey”, because you just know it’s their favourite!)