If you’ve been hanging around the Lit Mama Homeschool for long, you know that I believe that the absolute best, most important thing we can do for our children is to encourage them to read. I realize I am overzealous. I’m okay with that.
You must be, too, or you’d be clicking that little X button up there.
Please don’t click the X button. I’m about to tell you Why Reading Is So Important.
Because books, duh.
Okay, so that’s not all.
I spend my days bringing you book suggestions, resource recommendations, and crafts, activities, and printables to engage your littles in reading. I do it because I love it. (I have to, ‘cause it sure ain’t making me rich.) I already do all those things for my own littles, but I want to help you. Why?
Because not everyone was raised to be a reader. In fact, I know people personally who scoff at me for my obsession. But they just don’t get it. They aren’t bad; they just weren’t raised to believe in stories.
The Importance of Literature
Literature is so much more for little guys than recognizing letters or reading words on paper. It is a way to explore the world around them and the world that is not around them. Books give them telescopes to look into space, plane trips to foreign countries, paws to run with the animals, and invitations to the festivals and feelings of other cultures.
Yeah. That. And I just mean the picture books you collect for them when they’re very small. Even board books.
You getting me? We’ve all heard the old line about libraries being like portals to other worlds, and maybe that inspires you to run to the library or maybe it makes you snicker in derision, but the fact remains that the statement is true.
When your little one is first learning how to make connections in order to think for herself, she needs all the information she can get. She can’t get all that info from your living room floor, and she certainly shouldn’t get it from a television or cell phone. She needs books, books she get in her hands and feel and thumb through and taste. (You know she will. They all do.) She needs her mama and dada to read those books to her so she can hear the words and know the stories.
Do you know that it is a fact that children who are read to from birth (or even from the womb like mine were) have better vocabularies? Do you know that it is also a fact that sociologists claim that one of the biggest traits of the lower class is a lack of vocabulary?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t care how rich or poor we are. I don’t want anyone judging my kids on a lack of vocabulary.
Also, that vocabulary–and the knowledge gained from hearing the stories, gives your littles a head start in school. Studies have shown that children with parents who read to them from birth end up being about 6 months ahead of their peers.
I did not make that up. Do you know how much that would help your kid in the long run?
But why keep them reading even after they have gotten that head start?
My littles? Like I said, I read to them in the womb. Not just children’s stories, but also whatever I was reading at the time. I just read aloud for whole pregnancies.
They have such large vocabularies it shocks me sometimes. They are all voracious readers. They answer questions that floor the adults who ask them. And they ask questions that make others think.
But I want them to keep thinking and learning, too. So I can’t stop when I see them read their first chapter book. I have to keep the encouragement up. Keep reading with them.
Because chapter books are when the real magic happens.
That’s when they get to experience history firsthand. Through Dickens, Carroll, Dumas, Hugo, Austen. Thank goodness the printing press was invented. We get to read about certain eras from books that were written In That Era. There is no better history. No better way to see the world than through eyes that experienced that world.
Want to learn about forensics? Mystery and crime novels.
Greek mythology? Riordan, people.
Norse mythology? Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman. Because Gaiman.
Monsters? Stephen King.
–Just making sure you’re paying attention.
(Although I’m seriously considering making The Stand part of our curriculum next year. They teach it in college. Why can’t I teach it in high school?)
Here’s the thing. Every time you read a book you connect not only with the writer but with all the other people who have read the story. And you learn something. Or you are reminded of something or you come to a better understanding of something.
That’s what stories do. That’s why literature is so important. It teaches them without them ever realizing it. Because stories are educational, yeah, but they’re also fun.
So go have fun.