The importance of parents reading with their Children

Recently, I got to thinking about my own childhood and how my reading habits got started.  Both of my parents loved to read, but my mother even more so than my father.  In those early years when I was first learning, she sat with me every night before bed.  At first, she read to me, but later I did the reading and she helped me figure out any words I had trouble with.  This turned out to be a great advantage.  As I progressed in elementary school, I noticed my ability to read passages out loud surpassed most other students in the class.  Where they stumbled over words, I didn’t.  Now, this isn’t to knock those other kids down that had trouble, but is to say that they may not have been as lucky as me.  Perhaps their parents didn’t take the time to read to them and help them develop their skills.  Not only that, but my mother’s influence ensured that I would continue to love books long after she was gone (she passed away when I was nine).

I recall her reading a lot of romance novels, Danielle Steele being one of her favorites.  That author was never one of mine, but my mother didn’t have the advantage of so many great paranormal romances or else she would probably have tastes closer to mine (just kidding, it’s okay to like something else).  Anyway, I used to crawl up next to her in bed when I was only six years old, peer over at her book and try to read along with her.  As an adult, I realize she probably made sure there wasn’t anything naughty going on because she was never one to expose me to those types of things at an early age.  Yet she did go slower so I could keep up.  It is one of my fondest memories of us together.  She had no problem buying books for me, even if we didn’t have much money, or at least taking me to the library to get different ones to read.

So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I grew up to be an avid reader just like her.  I’m thankful for the time we had and that it gave me the advantage of loving the written word as much as I do.  Now my question to you all is how much of an influence did your parents have on your reading as a child?  Did they read to you or at least read along with you?  If so, do you think it helped influence your reading habits as an adult?

How important does everyone think it is to get their child into reading at an early age?  I’ll admit, I’m a proponent for supporting them in that direction as much as possible.  My husband’s mother never read to or with him, though she does read on her own some.  Possibly because of that, he never found the love of it that I did and won’t touch a book now.  Actually, the man won’t even read anything I write unless it is an email, lol.  So for the two of us, there is a vast difference.  He has no idea how I can sit and read as much as I do and thinks it’s weird.  Thankfully, he loves me enough to put up with the many hours where I totally ignore him and will bite off his head if he interrupts an important scene!

For those of you who didn’t have such supportive parents, I want to hear from you too.  Was there someone else that influenced you or did you pick it up on your own? Feel free to tell your personal stories.  I would like to hear them.


~ by Suzie on December 19, 2011.

20 Responses to “The importance of parents reading with their Children”

  1. Susan, I’m a huge advocate of parents reading to their children! That’s how I became a reader – in my case, my grandfather – Daddy. I can remember … and I must have been all of 2 or 3 at the time … sitting in Daddy’s lap while he read to me. (Uncle Wiggly – the “gentleman rabbit” – was my favorite.) Like you, I was a reader when I started school, and thanks to Daddy, I’ve had a lifelong love affair with books.
    And … the other part of parents reading to their children … it’s such a wonderful time of bonding and sharing. When Daddy was reading to me, I felt loved – I felt special. Those moments were magical.
    I wish more parents would take the time – and it isn’t a lot of time, really. A few minutes at the end of the day … It’s a priceless gift for parent and child.

    • That is so nice that he spent that kind of time with you! I agree that it is so important for children and a great bonding experience. It certainly made me feel loved! Thanks for commenting, PL.

  2. I’m not a parent quite yet, I am however an uncle and I do everything I can to encourage my nieces to read. One of my favorite things to do is to find a good new book to bring to them. Neither one is over a year old, so by the time their grown they won’t be able to claim they didn’t have books around them growing up.

    • You can never start giving kids books too early. That is great how you try to help your nieces. More uncles should be that way! Thanks for commenting 🙂

    • That was another advantage I feel I had as a child – books and magazines everywhere. Mother and Daddy (my grandparents) never restricted me. In fact (long story), Mother helped me get a library card to the adult section of the public library when I was 8 years old.

  3. My grandparents encouraged me to read when I was at home with my parents because it kept me from having to put up with the abuse from and between them. I still retain a love of reading because of my grandparents. I read with my step-children and now they both love to read. One of them couldn’t read at the start of the 1st grade because of developmental delays, but by encouraging her and reading with her she started reading on her own by December of that year and has since progressed to a 4th grade level and she’s only in the 2nd grade!!!!!

    • Sarah, that is certainly one of the advantages of reading, it provides a get-away from more difficult elements of real life. I’m only sorry you had to use it for that purpose. On the other hand, I must give your grandparents credit for finding something so wonderful for you to pass the time. It is great that you have worked with your step-children so they can enjoy reading and books as well. It is a priceless skill that is well worth having.

  4. When I was but a small lad, my teacher (bless her heart) sent me home with a note and the note said that “I was not doing well in my reading skills, and was falling behind the rest of the children at school.”

    From that point, my mother made me read the newspaper to her EVERYDAY while she fixed dinner for the family. If I could not spell a word or pronounce it she would stop walk over and then sound it out for me, and explain it to me.

    Reading to your children is one of the best gifts you can give them in this world. Do not hesitate to do it at any time.

    (Please stop these stupid damn snowflakes!)


    • That was good of your mother and shows she figured out a way to make time for you. I know some parents have busy schedules, but where there is a will, there is a way.

      As for the snowflakes, when some real ones finally drop in my part of Oklahoma, I’ll stop these, lol. For now, these are the only ones I get to have!

  5. I don’t remember my parents sitting and reading with me, but I know they did. My dad had this series of classics increasing in difficulty, and I remember him bragging that I could read at 18 months. And since then I have never quit reading. I also started writing at seven-years-old.

  6. I echo your experience as a child and applaud it as a mom. I’m not only a proponent of getting kids to read, but also of exposing them to the pleasures of finding their own books in bookstores and libraries. I think that a childhood immersed in story–whether you’re a natural engineer like my kindergartener or a natural storyteller like my second grader–provides a wealth of imagination and joy to draw on later. Thanks for this inspiring post!

    • Angela, you sound a little like me. I wrote my first short story at 8 years old – something about a witch – and I’ve been writing ever since.
      Jenny, I love that you encourage children to start young as readers. Books open so many worlds. And among the side benefits of reading – that too few people seem to be aware of – is that readers seem to become better communicators, better able to understand and explain the world around them.

  7. “How important does everyone think it is to get their child into reading at an early age?”–EXTREMELY

    It was my dad. He loved to read, and I loved to emulate him. We were at the library so much; I had to do something while I was there. 🙂

    • Dicey, glad you had a parent that encouraged your reading! Libraries were always a magical place to me as a kid.

      • Takes them away, Susan? That’s a shame! I also like the little snowflakes …

        • Yeah, it was a bonus feature on WordPress just for the holiday season. It ends on January 4th if I recall correctly. Guess I can’t complain too much since the blog is free other than the fee I paid to alter the html so everyone could see better with a bigger font. The original version seemed too small but I liked this theme too much to go with anything else.

  8. My Mom was a teacher and she read to me (and to all of my siblings) from a very early age. Books were a huge part of my childhood, and I was lucky enough to have a lot of them. I can still remember the first one I learned to read by myself. It was called “Summer” and when I recognized the words I was SO excited! By second grade I was reading at a fifth grade level, and writing stories. My parents fostered that love of learning. I can’t help but wonder: if they had been mathematicians and done equations with me, would I have passed algebra?
    I like the snowflakes!

    • Sue, I think it’s so important that children learn to read early – and parents can do so much to foster that learning. Your parents were terrific guides!
      It sounds like your childhood was a lot like mine – an abundance of reading material. I read three or four of the Oz books before I started school, and Mother always had a lot of magazines just laying around … begging to be picked up and read …

    • Sue, that is great that your parents were so encouraging. The thing is, even if my parents had been mathematicians, I’m not sure it would have helped me. At least not with my genetics, lol.

      Glad you like the snowflakes. Only a few days left of them before WordPress takes them away.

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