Starting as young as 6 months old, I began reading to my sons every night at bedtime. There were times when I thought it was a bit ridiculous that I was reading to a baby, but what I didn’t realize at the time, was that I was setting myself and my boys up for a wonderful family routine in the future. As they grew and started to really learn and pay attention to the stories I would read them, they began to request certain books and look forward to bedtime and our little reading nook. I realized that I was not only reading to them but setting them up with a basic package of skills and knowledge. Since then, I have realized that there are 5 main reasons why I, personally, continue to read to my children and grow this love of reading within them.

1. Language Skills: Reading to my kids and teaching them words from our books helped to build their language skills. My eldest son did not talk for quite a while, but when he did start to talk, we would read books together and I would show him words that he could practice saying. It was such a joy to see him learn new words and finally be able to express himself in the ways that he had so been wanting to. Their vocabulary grows with every book we read and they get to hear new words and phrases they may not get to hear otherwise.

2. Working Their Brains: Reading not only exercises their brains, but it also enhances their concentration. Research has shown that certain areas of the brain are affected when children have had reading exposure at a young age. Even though it takes time, and sometimes all you want to do is give up and let them throw the book, this routine you are instilling in them at a young age will eventually take hold and help them concentrate and sit still.

3. Getting Lost in Adventures: Sharing my love of adventure with my children has always been a rewarding experience for me. This doesn’t have to stop when we’re indoors. Reading a book with my kids has set us off on many adventures. Whether we’re climbing mountains in the Himalayas with talking goats, swimming the sea with a turtle family, or flying in space with a lovable family of aliens, we always find ways to explore and have fun when reading our books. When i read, and sometimes act out these books, I can see the imagination in my boys eyes running wild and thinking of new possibilities.

4. Travel the World: On these vast adventures that we go on within our books, my kids are also learning about other parts of the world. Learning about different cultures, different traditions, other languages and more. Their thirst for knowledge and learning more about others is very rewarding. They become very curious to learn about the pyramids in the Egyptian desert or the tigers roaming the Indian forests.

5. Special Bond: While all of these benefits I have listed above are wonderful and beneficial to my kids’ growth, for me, the most important benefit is the bond I create with my boys. We enjoy a special bond now that we share within the books we read together. We grow together, we learn together, and we spend time together getting lost in the words on the pages lying in front of us.