I have fond memories of hearing my mom read out loud to me as a child. That is where my love for words started. My imagination would follow those words to many places unreachable with the stories leading the way. All to return me safely back to my bed the next morning. Safe and sound for another daytime adventure during the summer or a warmed curiosity for school in the other months. Get this, there are now studies showing that reading aloud will have a physiological effect on your child’s brain — helping it to work better.
Imagination is the doorway to the future. Without our imagination, nothing new could be realized. Those video games we play? Pure imagination drove the creators to take us outside reality. The car we drive in? Someone had to think of the first internal combustion engine. Rubber tires? The back seat? Look at anything around you. Imagine the imagination that was needed to create it. Imagination is for more than just taking us to our own fantasy land. It helps us make our fantasies real. When we read out loud to our kids it gives us a chance to lead them to lands and show them how to get there.
There is a book on everything. Go ahead. Think of any subject. There is a book on it. And new ones are being written everyday to create new ways of thinking for us to explore. Even before the Internet, all information was at our fingertips, albeit not as accessible. If we read out loud, we show our kids the beauty and instructive power of words. You don’t have to be McGyver to learn from a book.
Communicating fluently is the gateway to teamwork. With teamwork, many goals come within reach. It all starts with understanding your own native language. By reading out loud to our kids when they are young, we are showing them words translate ideas. By listening to our parents read out loud to us, we hear sentence structure and grammar. By learning to read for ourselves later on, we see correct spelling. Words we may not have heard before will improve our vocabulary.
This is one any parent can tell you about. When my kids were in grade school, I took a break from the Berenstein Bears to read something more substantial. I pulled out The Hobbit. I read the first chapter where Gandalf questions Bilbo about what he meant by “Good Morning?” My kids were hooked. When they had grown up, the long awaited trilogy by Peter Jackson was heading to the theaters. I reminded them about the Hobbit and asked if they wanted to read the sequel? I had only given them three months but they both had it finished in plenty of time and waiting for the movie to come. We still share that love for Tolkien to this day.
And now for that scientific research I hinted about at the beginning. Researchers have discovered that by reading out loud to our preschool children, it helps improve their neuron capabilities in the brain’s left side. This is where our reading and language skills reside. More importantly, our visualizing center is also here. This is where we can imagine what people are saying to us. This is where we can visualize the answers to the questions we are asked. By reading out loud at a young age, we are giving them a head start to visualize their future possibilities.
It is nice to be able to justify with hard scientific proof that reading out loud to our children is a good thing. But, be honest. Any parent that has read out loud to their child can tell you the reward they see watching their child grow up with a chance to the future they helped create. The future lies within the imagination of our children.