Have you heard people say, “The kids today have short attention spans. Because of quick-paced television, they’re used to watching three to four-second bites and become restless when the action is diminished.”? HOG WASH! As I sit in an Amtrak station waiting for a train that’s now 38 minutes late, I’ve been watching a grandmother read Curious George to her five-year-old grandson.
From my vantage point, she appeared to be a rather listless reader, void of expression, sound effects and lifted eyebrows accompanying some of Hans and Margaret’s incredible thoughts, yet the child was glued to his grandma’s side listening to the story.
When the book was finished, he pulled another from his backpack and she proceeded to read it. The train turned out to be an hour late and the child remained interested in books the entire time. So much for the short attention span.
So here are what I believe are 6 benefits of reading bedtime stories to your children.
1. Cultivates Imagination
Now that visual stimulation is served up via television, IPads, IPhones, Xbox etc., children rarely get to tap into their imaginations unless we read to them, or until they can read. As a child, I loved radio (it was before we had television) because my imagination provided the visuals. Because we don’t have kid radio, unless we read to our kids, their ability to use their precious imaginations and be able to visualize will weaken.
I remember one Christmas, my daughter Peggy bought a bunch of children’s books at a neighborhood garage sale and recorded reading them on a cassette tape recorder for her non-reading cousins as gifts for Christmas. As adults, those cousins still speak of how they loved her gifts of being read to.
My husband Terry and I recorded books on CDs, the same way Peggy did with a cassette recorder. This way our grandchildren could listen to us read the books we gave
them as gifts.