Faith in reading

Memories of reading to our kids are just that--memories. Our kids are in college or into the work world; we haven't read to our kids in years. However, Dana and I read to our kids a lot when they were young. From Bible story books to animal books to various authors and interests, we read to them and they became good readers. Picture books were favorites on our shelves.Educators and parents know the importance of reading. While the vehicles may have changed (ebooks versus paper books), reading and being a good reader open the doors for success throughout life and support a world of thought and creativity.As we started our lives as parents, books and reading were key parts of parenting. Sure, having teachers for our own parents probably prioritized reading in our home. However, knowing the impact of being good lifelong readers created an emphasis in our home.It's time to get those little ones on your lap and to read to them--and use picture books. Picture books are key elements in a child's reading growth. Consider the following: Illustrations help comprehension. Words gain meaning, and pictures help the reader determine previously unknown words. Pictures trigger other parts of the brain. Reading is a complex process with the brain needing to be highly engaged. Pictures help this process. Many picture books (like Dr. Seuss) help children learn new words through rhymes and other prose. (The prose of hymns also leads children to new words and stronger vocabulary.) Repetition of the use of picture books of all kinds fosters the love of reading as reading aloud grows comprehension and fluency. More practice + familiar words + greater success in reading = growing a love of reading. And how about reading as an opportunity for parent-child bonding? Rather than life revolving around one commitment or another, why not consider revolving around something that will have lifelong effects?When all is said and done, reading really has eternal ramifications. Seriously. We teach and confess that God works his miracle of faith through His Word. What greater need do we have for reading than to be close to Jesus' words as shared through Scripture?Enjoy your reading time at home. Enjoy those picture books. Dig into the precious words of our Savior.