Skip to main content
Northstar Academy

A fully accredited private online
Christian school for grades 4-12

Questions? 1.888.464.6280

The Importance of Reading to Your Children

“Momma, Can You Read Another?”

When my daughter was little, I made a rule for myself: whenever possible, I would drop everything and read to her any time she asked.

I don’t remember the dirty floor that I neglected while we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, nor do I remember the phone calls I ignored as we took time to appreciate Lucy’s Picture one more time. What I do remember is snuggling with the tiny human who just wanted her mom’s undivided attention and a very good story.

Do you remember the things your kids were obsessed with when they were little? I’m sure you do, as those obsessions are such fertile soil for the legendary family stories that we tell and retell for years. Around here, we had the baseball phase, the butterfly phase, the fire truck phase (accompanied by an imaginary firefighter friend named Tom Furry), the bird phase, the construction phase, the French and Indian War phase, and the Robin Hood phase, just to name a few. Every trip to the library revolved around finding more and more books related to whatever the kids were fascinated by at the time. I know for a fact that we read every single book about baseball in our whole library system. And I loved it. Not the baseball itself—although that can be interesting, too. I loved scouring the library for new books. I loved spending time with my kids. And I loved learning about standpipes (fire truck phase), American kestrels (bird phase), and Mary Jemison (Revolutionary War phase.)

The truth is that without my kids, I would know very little about so many things. Reading with them was educational for all of us. And while that’s significant, it’s not the most important thing. I could cite academic studies that demonstrate the benefits of reading to your kids, and in fact, that’s what I set out to do here. Thinking back to those days, however, has made me realize that those benefits aren’t the ones that really matter to me.

It comes down to this: My relationship with my kids is strongerdeeperbecause of the time we spent reading together.

Recently, my young adult son was reminiscing about a book that I used to read to him and his sister. James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, an autobiographical collection of stories about a veterinarian in 1940s England, was always one of my favorites. It’s not actually a children’s book, though.

“Why did you read that to us?” he asked.

“It was important to me to keep reading to you, even though you weren’t a little kid anymore. How old were you when we read that, anyway?”

“About seventh grade.” Pause. “But why that book?”

“My mom read it to me and I loved it, so I wanted to share it with you.”

“Hmm,” he mused. “Okay.” He smiled a little. And that was that.

Except it’s not just that.

“They remember,” I thought to myself. “They remember that I read to them. And they know that I did it because I love them.