I mentioned before that I struggled as a child when it came to reading and writing. My husband also struggled to read, and we must have passed the reading-struggle gene to our children as well. But we were determined to pass on the learn-to-read-until-you-love-it replacement gene! No matter the struggle, we are firm believers in reading.
1. Reading is contagious. A new report from Scholastic suggests that reading aloud to your children up to at least age eleven increases the percentages of your child becoming a frequent reader. It also forms healthy bonds as you crowd around the table or sit together on the couch to read.
2. Reading is relaxing. A 2009 study by Sussex University showed a 68% reduction in stress through reading. The same study found that reading works better and faster to relax than other relaxation techniques to calm frayed nerves, such as going for a walk, listening to music, or even having a cup of tea or coffee. Relaxed muscles and lowered heart rate occurred after just six minutes of reading. I recommend both a book and a cup of something hot!
3. Reading can make you more empathetic. In a world where less filtered rapid-fire images barrage us on our readers, televisions, and laptops nearly twenty-four-seven constantly desensitizing our capacity for compassionate empathy--we need ways to stay empathetic and caring. Research published in Science has shown that particularly literary fiction helps readers connect to the emotions and thoughts of others.
4. Reading can increase your brain capacity. Research published in Neurology has shown that reading can stave off the rate of decline in memory. Reading is as much a brain work out as a jog is a cardiac workout.
5. Reading can improve your sleep. Sleep specialists report that the number of hours you gaze at an electronic screen directly reduces your level of own body's supply of melatonin that is known to help sleep, while according to Mayo Clinic reading signals the brain to slow down and prepare to sleep. This would argue that traditional hard copy books are better for reading and some studies also suggest that reading a hard copy boosts comprehension.
So, encourage your children and grandchildren to press beyond the work of reading to the joy of reading. I'll never forget that crystal clear moment that happened to our daughter at age seven when she came running down the steps well after bedtime, exclaiming "Mom, it just took me away and I couldn't stop reading!" She'd struggled just as we had. But we incentivized her for every thirty minutes of reading she was awarded screen time. There was much groaning, whining, and procrastinating before she had her epiphany that the joy of the story will drown out the work of reading if you press hard enough, if you wade in it long enough.
Parents press on! Read to your kids, even well past the age they can read to themselves.
There is one pleasure over the holidays, though it was once torture as a early non-reader, that I will always treasure: the reading time, both alone in my library room and out loud from my family.
I was reminded of this as my twenty year old son read an amazing prologue aloud to me, as my father read aloud "When Father Carved the Turk" from Uncle Charlie's Poems by Charles Noel Douglas, and when my daughter read aloud the poem she'd written about the kitchen table.
Put some books under the Christmas Tree this year and have fun together!
What are your favorite reasons to read?
What's on your Christmas reading list this year?
How old were you when you were last read to by your parents?
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.Nurse Practitioner by day.Wife, mother, writer by night.Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com