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Reading to children: Why it is so important and how to start


A bedtime story – the highlight of my day when I was a little girl. I couldn’t wait to cuddle up in bed and go on an imaginary journey with all the wonderful characters that lived in books. Long gone are the days where children know the smell of a library book and walking around with your ruler to not lose its space on the shelf where you found it. As wonderful as the ever-evolving digital world is, a lot of essential skills like simple spelling to compile a post on Facebook has gone out the door.

Children don’t find joy in reading a book anymore and goodness gracious, you can sometimes see it clearly in the way they spell! Reading is not just about understanding words on a page, it shapes your communication skills, general knowledge and keeps the imagination alive! And we simply can’t forget mom’s favourite recipes that will one day be passed down… If you can’t read, you can’t cook! These are a few reasons to make time to read with your child and keep at least one old tradition alive:

Reading expands the vocab

If you don’t read to your children or teach them to read themselves, they will never have the opportunity to stumble across words that they don’t know. Make a fun game of it, spend some quality time together and spark that curiosity to find out what the words mean.

The more you read, the better you get at it!

Practice absolutely makes perfect. The more children read, the better they get at it. To encourage reading make sure that you provide books that will spark children’s interest and get them away from the Kindle or tablet and go on an old-fashioned outing to the library.

Reading builds self-confidence

It is inevitable – all children will eventually grow up and walk into a career where they will have to speak in front of people, present strategies, maybe teach a class or simply give a monthly report – whether in person or over an email. With good reading skills, communication skills improve and it will give them the confidence, in the long run, to express themselves and carry a meaningful conversation.

Reading reduces stress!

Children these days are forced to grow up a lot quicker than 20 years ago. It has been proven that reading reduces stress by 60%! Studies have shown that when children actually have a home library with as few as 20 books of their very own, they can achieve three more years of schooling than children who don’t have any books at home. Now there is some food for thought!

Getting your children into reading is not the hardest task that you will ever be faced with. Children take cues from their parents – make a concerted to set aside time for reading and create a cosy little reading nook where there is space for nothing but imagination and escaping from reality. Not only will you help your child develop skills that are more valuable than gold, but you will also break the cycle of screen time and getting caught up in technology all day, every day.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…”

Reading to children: Why it is so important and how to start


Inge Liebenberg




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