A recent survey of 1,000 adults showed that 28% hadn’t read a book in over a year. Not “hadn’t read a book to their children” but “hadn’t read a book on their own, for fun.” Fiction or non-fiction. Paper or electronic. Not one.
An additional 25% said they’d read fewer than half a dozen books in the preceding year. That’s less than one book every two months and maybe even only a single book over twelve months.
Over half, then, of the 1,000 people who took the survey – ordinary people, like you and I – are unlikely to count themselves as “readers.” How about you? Are you a reader?
Being a reader matters to your kids. Here’s why:
- Children want to do what they see their parents doing. If Mom and Dad don’t read, children are less likely to enjoy reading. They are less likely to read for pleasure, in their free time. This matters, because the more children read, the better readers they are.
- Children who see their parents read understand that reading isn’t just “a school skill.” It’s not something that matters only because it’s part of their report card. Reading is something people do because they want to.
- Reading builds vocabulary, yours as well as your children’s. Conversation tends to use a limited set of words but reading uses many more. When you read, you expand your vocabulary and that rubs off on your children. More words means more ideas.
- Reading makes you smarter. No matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction, reading builds a person’s intellect. Readers understand characters, solve mysteries, follow an argument, and notice how an idea is built. Readers know more stuff. Parents who know stuff tell their kids.
- Reading makes you a better parent. It puts you into imaginary situations and then shows you a way out. It introduces you to people who think differently from you and do things you’d never consider. If good parents try to understand their children, then reading is a way to become a better parent.
All the good reasons in the world won’t help you become a reader if you don’t have a book. Here’s a list of books to get you started.
Free time over the holidays? Make sure you have a book to read and that you let your child see you reading!
© 2013, Patricia Nan Anderson. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Ask for Dr. Anderson’s new book, Developmentally Appropriate Parenting, at your favorite bookstore.