Last week as my wife and I were cleaning up at the end of the day, I heard the sound of pages ripping coming from our family room. When I entered the room, I saw my son sitting on the floor tearing pages out of books. I quickly stopped him and told him it was wrong to destroy books. When he asked me why it was wrong, I had to pause and think. Why is it important for us to keep these books in good condition? Besides taking care of the things that have been given to us, I wanted him to understand the important role books play in our lives. Realizing I didn’t know how to explain this, I wanted to learn more about how reading impacts kids' development.
Dr. Perri Klass, Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, outlines the importance of reading with our kids in her article, “Bedtime Stories for Young Brains”. Beyond the brain and language development that occurs when a student reads or is read to, I really appreciated Klass’s focus on how reading creates a face-time, skin-to-skin connection between a parent and a child. Her article helped me understand that my kids both return to the same books over and over again because there is a security in the routine of reading Dr. Suess’s The Grinch together— even if it’s for the third time that day.
Every night before going to bed, I read a few stories from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones with my kids. It’s a resource we also use at Camp because it does a great job of helping kids see that the Bible is all about Jesus. Besides reading for mental development, Sally Lloyd-Jones explains in her blog post “Teach Children the Bible is Not About Them” that reading the Bible to our kids helps them (and us) become a part of God’s “magnificent story” to His people. It’s liberating to think that I don’t always need to explain or over-explain time and time again the stories we are reading together as a family. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to simply let God’s stories speak for themselves, because there is power in the Word of God.
What about you? How do you incorporate reading into your family time? What are your kids’ go-to books when it’s time to read? Leave a comment and let us learn from you!