There are so many good things about reading books to your children. My main ones are: cuddles, the chance to stop whatever busy stuff I am doing and the opportunity to get lost in a new book with its new adventures and new worlds. Books speak to us about what it is to be human and the best books stay with us long after we have read them.
I still get lots of cuddles from my five year old but cuddles from the nine year old are a much rarer beast. Sitting and reading with my girls is a good way to ensure my nine year old still gets a cuddle. It would be all too easy to forget to give her a cuddle or attention and get to the end of the day, realising I hadn't spent any tine with her. That physical contact is so vital to our well being.
Reading to the girls forces me to stop what I am doing and take some time out. It's all too easy to get caught up in all the things that need doing and forget to sit and breathe. I rarely take the time to sit and read my own books but reading to the girls is one way to get a good dose of books! Just what the doctor ordered!
I love exploring new worlds and travelling. The beauty of reading a book to my girls is that I can do just that and never leave my comfy couch! I also love discovering new authors, illustrators and their stories.
There are so many other benefits to reading to my girls. It introduces the girls to a depth and breadth of language and to a variety of people and places far beyond their home and world. It exposes them to new ideas, cultures and religions, all from the safety of their lounge room where they can ask "Why did she do that?" "What does that mean?"
Sitting and reading together is a great way to connect. We chat about the stories, learn new words and have great conversations. They can ask me questions, I can do my best to answer the questions and teach them what I know. And for the other questions, those I can't answer, we can go back to the library and find a book that gives us the answer. So not only are they learning about new worlds, they are also learning how to find out more about their world.
Giving my girls the world of books and a love of reading is, I believe, one of the greatest gifts I can give them. And by sitting down to read to them and then, when they are older, listen to them read, is me saying, "You are important, you matter. I have time for you."
The best thing of all, I think, is the chance to share my favourite books with my favourite people. When you discover a wonderful book, you just want to share it with the world. I love introducing the girls to the books I loved when I was a kid and seeing them love them too. It also means I get a chance to revisit those wonderful stories from childhood, all over again.
With a book in their hand they never need to feel lonely or bored - there are always new characters and places waiting for them, in between the pages of a book!