I had the privilege of reading my latest book for children at a school last Friday, March 2nd. It was national Read Across America Day. This annual celebration of reading, is sponsored by the National Education Association and is held every year on the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
Reading for kids is one of my favorite activities as an author. As a kid, I was the one who always had a book in my hand and would check out as many books as they would allow at my local library. As an author, it is my goal to spread my love of books and stories to as many children as I can.
A recent study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital that was published in the August 2015 issue of Pediatrics Magazine, found that reading to 3- to 5-year-old children helps in literary and language development. The study found that preschool children who were read to by their parents and other caregivers, had the parts of their brains activated which help with mental imagery and the understanding of narrative…both keys in the development of literacy and language.
One of my earliest memories, was being read to by my mother. We would curl up together against the pillows on my bed and read a chapter every night. I remember hearing “Heidi” and “Black Beauty” and “Charlotte’s Webb” and “The Secret Garden.” Later, we moved on to the Little House books, “Little Women” and Nancy Drew. By then, I was old enough to read for myself, but it was a time together that we both enjoyed and weren’t eager to give up.
As a parent, I loved reading to my own children. I read to my sons together, but my daughter was seven years younger, so they were both reading on their own by the time I began reading to her. I remember one night I read two books to her before I tucked her in. As I left her bedroom, I found both of my sons sitting against the wall outside her room. They had quietly come down the hall to listen to me read to their sister.
In addition to fostering language and literary development, reading to children creates nurturing relationships between parents and children. It also creates shared points of reference and memories and often (as in my case) a life-long love of reading. What a gift for both children and their parents!
I’ve already had the delightful opportunity to read for my grandson, Graham. I’m hopeful that I will be able to do that a lot more in his young life!
Author’s note: Last Friday was the 114th birthday of Dr. Seuss. If you have ever wondered where the “Seuss” came from, it was his middle name…Theodor Seuss Geisel. He added the “Dr.” to his name because his father had always wanted him to practice medicine.