The image and quote above appeared on Facebook today and I completely agree with the quote. Deep reading, extensive reading, reading for fun or school/work, all kinds of reading help. Reading definitely only has positive effects on our intelligence, mental, social and emotional, but it is not only the stories themselves that do the trick.
The actual process of reading, sitting down with somebody you care about, whether it is your child, grandchild, student, or even an adult, is a wonderful experience – you share time, place, dreams, worlds… Children are especially open to gratitude – after a busy day, having their parent sit down and set this time aside only for them… there is nothing better than this! There is no better gift that you can give your child than your time and attention.
Of course, if you read and comment along with children, ask for their opinion and challenge them to think, expand on the topic and question things, it is even more worthwhile, but it is not always necessary. Sometimes you will be tired, you will skip words and they will correct you, they will stop you with questions, and you will really not feel like reading at all. But their questions, their corrections, their hillarious comments, all this will just magically wipe away your stress, make you smile and laugh, and forget about everything else.
It is the love they share with you in those moments.
The same goes with reading to and with adults. If you read with your partner, to your mother or father, to people who can no longer read to themselves, remember – we are all children at heart! Stories have that mysterious power of waking up that honest, non-constricted, free and imaginative child, dormant but present within us.
I have seen the magic of reading stories to all age groups, and would never trade in its power and positive effect for any technological or methodical device there is, much as I respect and use them in my teaching. Reading awakens playful freedom, sets emotions free and channels them, challenges the mind into critical and creative thinking, and lets us grow, develop and express ourselves.
So yes, children, meaning all of us, associate books with love and affection, because this is what we share when we read together.
And if you are ever lucky enough to have your child read to you, relish every second of that love.