by Miriam L. Hulett, M.A.
If you are privileged to be a grand parent, you’ve heard “Read it again, Grandma” or Grandpa many times. Why do children ask for books to be repeated? The obvious reason is that they like the story. However the story itself is just the beginning. Children love the sound of repetition and they find security in the familiar. The experience of sitting close to a grandparent and having their attention focused on the child is very rewarding to both the child and the grandparent. A positive relationship is being formed during this time.
This positive relationship is one of the emotional and social health benefits of reading to a child. Some children’s books help them recognize and deal with their own emotions and the emotions of others. This is another step toward emotional and social health. Reading to young children leads to later success in school. A positive school experience helps build a positive self image. This is also a key building block of good emotional health. Reading helps develop a child’s imagination - - another step toward emotional health.
Although it may not seem logical, a highly developed imagination helps promote school success. A strong imagination opens the mind to possibilities and to a hunger for knowledge. We all know that reading at any age expands our knowledge and understanding of our world. Reading also develops a larger vocabulary and can assist children with learning the correct pronunciation of new vocabulary words.
“Reading” picture books to infants begins this vocabulary development. It is never to early to begin reading to children. Infants enjoy the cadence and sound of the human voice. As soon as they are able to focus, they enjoy the pictures in a simple picture book. Children love to learn new things. When Grandma or Grandpa point to the picture of the dog and say “dog-woof, woof” the baby likes the sound and is learning a new word. The enjoyment of being read to goes beyond young children. Continue to read to your grand children as long as they will listen. Even adults enjoy listing to a talented story reader.
This article has discussed many of the emotional, social and education benefits of reading to grand children. These are all valid, but the best part of reading is that it’s just plain fun.
Miriam L. Hulett is a retired teacher with almost 30 years in early childhood. She holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Administration from Grand Valley State University. She is Co-Chair and Adjunct Professor of Early Childhood Education at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing. Michigan. Her first book, Phoebe Flies Away, a delightful story for children 3-8 years, is currently available from the authors and online under products. For more information contact John M. Hulett at Power Zone Agency, 12227 Keefer Hwy, Sunfield, Michigan 48890, firstname.lastname@example.org and 616-481-7833 or buy online at phoebefliesaway.com.