My ideal lifestyle part 2: reading to my children

This is part two of my ideal lifestyle.  It was never a question whether or not I’d read to my children on a regular basis.  We have a large children’s book collection for my children. When it comes to story time my daughter is always the first there and the last to leave.  This is a point of pride for me. So why do I consider this part of my ideal lifestyle?

There are several reasons each building off each other.The primary reason is of course that I value reading itself.  I can’t imagine how dull my life would be without reading. Especially since I wouldn’t be interested in being a writer if I wasn’t interested in reading. Since writing is a major part of my life I’d say without reading I’d be a completely different person.  So I like reading and want my children to like reading. That’s not all there is to it.

The main reason I regularly read to my children, and even feel guilty when I miss a day, is because your reading habits are determined by your experience with books as a child. Reading a story is a skill. That may seem like a strange concept to some people but there is more to reading then understanding the alphabet and how words relate to each other in a sentence. There are three skills used when you read. They are skimming, scanning and detailed reading.  Skimming is when you are just reading for a general idea. It tends to be quick. When you skim you’ll probably skip words and even sentences you deem unnecessary for getting the general idea of the story.  Scanning is when you are looking for specific information. I often read a novel by skimming. I’m a plot person. If your novel is reliant on me enjoying they way you have strung your sentences together I’m probably going to lose interest really quickly. Since I tend to skim I’ll sometimes miss a point and have to go back through the pages scanning for a piece of information I missed. The third type of reading is called detailed. It’s pretty obvious what it means. Detailed reading is going through sentence by sentence. It’s how we often read textbooks or works of non-fiction. These reading skills are naturally leveled up through our reading experiences. Like any skill the more you do it the better you get. Similarly the earlier you start the less difficulty you’ll have later on in life. Reading to my children helps set the framework for their reading habits and skills when they are older.

Imagine a person who was never read to as a child. That kid would have no reason to pick up a book in the home. They’d be exposed to books for the first time in school. It would take them that much longer than a child who was exposed to books in the home to get into books. Since their parents didn’t value the reading experience they too wouldn’t. Of course there would be exceptions.  They’d struggle to get interested and would be easily distracted. By the time they are adults they may pick up a book once a year if that and take a month or two to read it. They’d probably just wait until it’s made into a TV show.

So that’s why in my ideal lifestyle I read to my children. To prepare them for a lifetime of reading.

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