Benefits of Reading to Children

BY AWAKE! WRITER IN POLAND

Organizers of the annual campaign “All Poland Reads to Children” say: “Reading is the key to both knowledge and intellectual ability. . . . It opens the door to the treasury of human thought and knowledge.” If this is true, why do many adults and children consider reading to be just a necessary evil?

The originators of this campaign state: “The custom of reading and the love of books must be established in childhood.” They tell parents: “If you want your children to be wise and successful at school and in life, read to them aloud daily for 20 minutes.”

Parents are also encouraged not to postpone reading to their children but to “start as soon as possible.” When? “Let us read to an infant, holding him in our arms, looking at him with love, and arousing his interest with our voice,” parents are urged. “In this way a lasting association of reading with a feeling of security, pleasure, and closeness is formed. Additionally, it stimulates his mental development.”

The organizers of the campaign emphasize that “reading to children is now more important than ever before,” and they point to other benefits. Reading aloud teaches children to think, “helps them to understand other people, the world, and themselves, . . . arouses interest, develops imagination, stimulates emotional development, cultivates sensitivity and empathy, teaches moral values, . . . builds self-esteem.” Undoubtedly, it is “the antidote against many undesirable influences . . . that threaten children’s minds and hearts,” conclude the leaders of this campaign.

For reading to be especially effective, publications that encourage young ones to draw close to their heavenly Creator should be used. The Bible is the best book there is for helping us to draw close to God. “From infancy,” the Bible says, the youth Timothy had been taught “the holy writings.” (2 Timothy 3:15) In a program of reading aloud to children, parents can include such Bible-based books as My Book of Bible Stories and Learn From the Great Teacher, written especially for young ones and published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.