/ / 5 Spiritual Reasons To Read To Your Child

5 Spiritual Reasons To Read To Your Child

 

My sister Jennifer ————>>

…is back this week to lay the foundation for why it’s important to begin reading to our children at a very young age.

     Jennifer writes:     

             The most important thing I can share about our parenting is the priority that we as a family have placed on reading together.  It is the thing that has shaped our children the most. 

Reading together has served to develop their minds, their hearts, and their souls.  It touches them not only intellectually but also spiritually.  Most of the research and studies that show the importance of reading to your child stress the academic benefits of this activity, but I would like to show you that there are also eternal benefits of reading to your child

 Reasons to read to your children:

  1.  To develop skills which will allow them to read and understand the scriptures. 

It brings me such joy to walk into Johnathan or Julianna’s bedroom and see that they have chosen to read the Bible on their own!  This is how they will come to the knowledge of all of the wonderful truths about our Savior that are written on those pages and hopefully make their faith their own. 

Joshua 1:8a – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. NKJV

2.  To develop their ability to express their own ideas both verbally and in writing. 

This equips them to clearly communicate the truths of the gospel with others.  The ability to organize, sequence and clearly express their thoughts, develops as they are exposed to the rich language of experienced writers.  Johnathan has had several school assignments in which he has had to write about his beliefs, and it is such a blessing to see how clearly he can articulate his understanding of what we have read to him and taught him over the years.

I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. NIV

3.  To develop their listening and auditory processing skills. 

They are better able to listen and think about information as well as sustain attention for longer periods of time if they have practiced routinely listening to you read for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Sometimes I feel like our preacher’s sermons may be a little above Julianna’s level as a 10 year-old, but I have been impressed with her ability to focus, listen, and take notes during Sunday morning worship services.  Here is a picture of the front page of her notes from last Sunday.  Look how much they can learn even at a young age if they are trained to listen!! 

4.  To lead to teachable moments and discussions for training your children in righteousness. 

We have a routine of reading together nightly at bedtime.  So many times, when I am tucking the children into bed, they will ask a question about what we have read, or they will share something about their day that relates to what we read.  These still, quiet moments are wonderful times to reach their hearts with the truth, and though I love a schedule and getting them to bed on time, I am willing to ignore these things to work with their hearts while they are soft and moldable! 

5.  To create lifelong memories. 

My mom has allowed me to borrow the volumes of Bible storybooks that she read to us when we were children (which I will share with you in a later post), and as I turn through the pages with the familiar pictures and stories, I remember the snuggles with mom, the giggles of three little girls with curlers in their hair, the talks about our Lord, and the bedtime prayers said while kneeling beside the bed. These are the types of precious memories that I hope I am creating for my children when we spend time reading together.

          In parenting, we always have to keep eternal purposes in mind. 

What is our true goal of parenting?  Why do we do what we do?  What is our motivation?  With these thoughts in mind, I encourage you to read even more to your children! 

~ Jennifer

You may have tangible wealth untold,

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I, you can never be-

I had a mother who read to me.

From Teddy to Ready (2002) by Susan Martelli

_________________________________________________

Thank you sis! 

Alright mamas – I encourage you to grab a good picture book or chapter book and pull your chicklets in close to you and enjoy a moment of bonding together!

Some readers have asked for book recommendations, well hold tight, cause Jen will be giving them in coming weeks 🙂  But we’d love to hear what you are reading right now to your children – feel free to share it in the comment section!  Currently we are in the middle of the book titled Mrs. Piggle Wiggle – it’s our second time through – the kids begged to hear it again 🙂 .

Walk with the King,

49 Comments

  1. My fondest memory is the blizzard of ’93. We were stuck in our log cabin for a week without power, running water or any conveniences. My dad chopped wood for the fireplace, we cooked in cast iron skillets or over the kerosene heater (only convenience we had till it ran out). My mom read to us the Chronicles of Narnia, Wee Sir Gibby of the Highlands, A Wrinkle in Time and I think there were some more in there too. I loved sitting on the fold out sofa with my mom, sister & dad, as she read aloud to us.

  2. We recently started on the Chronicles of Narnia series, and both kids (and myself!) are really enjoying it!

  3. We read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle-it’s hilarious! 😉 We go to the library regularly and each of my girls check out 6-10 books. I think I enjoy reading them more than they do! We have weekly family bible studies as well (every Thursday evening) so they are able to read out of the Bible. During my crazy days I google Storytime and the stars will read a book to your child! We don’t do this often because I know how important it is to hear that story in mommy’s arms~but if you are ever having “one of those days” this website is wonderful!

  4. LOVE reading to my boy. and he’s OBSESSED with books. He’s only 19 mos. but will ask to be read to multiple times a day, and want to read the books over and over! he loves them!!!

    We read a lot of dr. seuss books, as well as a couple of the “henry and mudge” books, and various other books I’ve found at re-sale shops.

    We also try to read a story from his “Jesus Storybook Bible” every morning, but I’m not always consistent with that :/

    You don’t turn the pages as often in his storybook bible, so he tires of it quicker than other books, but he still enjoys reading it. 🙂 I LOVE reading from it, such rich Jesus centered words in every story. In every little bible story it tells it clearly points to Jesus somehow, and in a way that a kid would understand. Love it love it love it!!!

  5. ………………….The website that famous people will read a story is Storylineonline-just for those crazy days!

  6. We just took a trip to Washington DC with scouts. So – we checked out a BUNCH of books from the library and we are reading about the places we visited. It was my intention to read the books before we left, but it has been more fun for my daughter to look at them after the trip. Lots of fun memories and symbolic things at the monuments that we didn’t notice.

  7. Did you know Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is a series?? All the books are great! I’m leading an online book club through the first one (which is probably the one you’re reading) for girls this summer! I can’t wait! Loved this post, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about those Bible storybooks!

  8. Ahhh…reading is a passion of mine! I think it is the number one, most important thing a parent can do for and with their children. During the school year I require my children to begin their day reading the Bible and a chapter book of their choice. When that time is over we read a chapter in the Bible, going around reading outloud to eachother, and I read a chapter book. I try to pick a “middle” of the line chapter book as I have a young man in my crew.

    When they couldn’t read I obviously read to them and my very favorite books to read to little ones are those written by Robert McCloskey. My favorites of his being Blueberries for Sal and One Day In Maine…LOVE LOVE LOVE these books!

  9. My son is older. He is reading A journey to the new world. The diary of Remember Patience Whipple Mayflower 1620. It is very interesting and educational. The Saints/Seperatists coming to America for religious freedom. What they went thru.

  10. Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories by Audrey Penn
    It deals in a delicate way with death & explains on a basic level what it means when someone dies. It doesn’t deal with anything spiritual, but it’s been great for opening up discussions with my 3yr old who lost his Poppi in March.

  11. wahoo Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!! I Loved those books as a kid. I read to my girls every night unless we’ve had an event and it’s just so late. I have actually had family say you’re such a good Mom because they didn’t know I did that. I was just as shocked that they did NOT read to their kids. Weird to me not to. My daughter will bring you book after book after book if you let her. She’s 3 The older one just cuts you off becuase she wants to read.

  12. I agree 100%. We’re often asked what parenting books we read, and I regularly answer that, that isn’t a high value for me, but that I read TO my kids for hours each day. Not only does it help academically but our primary purpose is spiritual. Books are another venue of discipleship. We also read many non-Christian books and through them discuss world view and philosophy. We are currently working through Who is God?, Biblical Worldview of God and Truth by Apologia Press and just finished reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell and getting ready to start Journey to Jo’burg a South African Story by Beverly Naidoo. On vacation in a couple weeks we’ll read Sugar Creek Gang, The Secret Hideout by Paul Hutchens. Given that my kids are being raised in Ukraine, which is a bilingual country (Ukrainian and Russian), reading also builds there English language skills.

    1. Oh Holly Dolly I love this! And it shows in your children’s character how much time you have spent bonding with them over books. And thanks for starting us on the Sugar Creek Gang Series – Alex has read Books #1-6 and is just waiting on me to order some more :)!

      1. I grew up listening to Paul Hutchens read his Sugar Creek Gang books on the radio on Saturday mornings. He voiced all the different boys. I also read them, and my kids read them as well.
        They are adults now, but we had lots of hours of reading together.

  13. Ah…. Reading to my kiddos. Could there be anything more fun? I love to read to my kids. I used to think that I needed to read to them “appropriate” aged books, now I know how much their comprehension is WAY above their reading level. I’m always amazed when my five year old will have a profound understand of a passage of the Bible that I had never seen before.
    Right now we have been reading the “Little House” series. Even the boys love it!

  14. Right now I’m reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins to my daughter. The last several years we have gone through and read books recommended in Honey for a Child’s Heart. I think just about all the picture book titles have been underlined in that book! My mother-in-law took a picture of me sitting on the floor with my oldest, then 6 weeks old, propped up on my legs with me reading a Beatrix Potter book a friend gave me as a gift. My kids have been going to the library almost weekly since my oldest was 2. Sometimes twice a week if I needed some air conditioning (very pregnant during a couple summers!) At our current library my daughter is known by name by all the children’s librarians. She has a special relationship with one of them who encourages her to write stories by giving her paper, pencil and stickers. I think there about 20 books in that collection! Reading to your kids early and often is such a wonderful gift to give our kids. Two of my three love to read and often have their noses stuck in a book. My other one would rather build something and is a non-fiction, need to know kind of reader. Although he does love audio books. Ahhh……some many books, so little time!

  15. When my brother and I were little, my Mom would sit and read to us for hours each day, and we NEVER got tired of it! 🙂 Because of that, we were early “on our own” readers and reading became such a huge part of our lives! Even today, I just love to read and I know that it is from those foundational times spent with my Mom. Great post! 🙂

  16. Right now we are reading three different books. We have 3 sets of reading time during our homeschooling day. I just finished reading Doctor Doolittle to my youngest boys and will start on The Wind in the Willows next. For afternoon family reading we are in the middle of the Chronicles of Narnia series with Prince Caspian. As a family at night my husband is reading to them The Lord of the Rings series. These times have created a huge bond for our family. It is allowing us to help mold their minds and develop their way of thinking.

  17. We are reading The Boxcar Children series together as a family. We are on book #19 now. I love it when my 5 and 7 yr old beg for ” just one more chapter” every night! And with our library’s summer reading program going on now, I need a few good suggestions to read to the kids during the daytime too…looks like I’ll be checking out Miss Piggle Wiggle! 🙂

    1. We read the 1st BC book with my 3 and 4 yr old-they loved it! I remember Ms. Piggle Wiggle! She is so fun…next on my list now!

  18. My 3 year old loves to sit in a lap and read books. He has tons of them, and we read many different ones. He does love the Llama Llama books, Lately, we have been reading a book called The Little Puppy, about a puppy trying to figure out who he is in the world, and Guess How Much I Love You, with the Big and Little Nutbrown Hare describing the love a parent has for his/her child.. We have a Bible Story Collection for Toddlers or two smaller Bible Stories for Bedtime that we read from every night before prayers.

    I know I am the great reader I am today because my parents read to me–what a blessing!

    Carissa in eastern Iowa

  19. As an elementary teacher I know the importance of reading to my children, but the fact that I am a Mama is even greater. Our children have always loved when I read to them. However, I wanted Daddy to get involved too. My hubs is not a fan of reading…I know ..Gasp! However, he is a wonderful storyteller. Our kids love his “Jasper Series.” Get those dads involved too. They shed a whole new light on reading and snuggling. I love when I hear my daughter giggling and even better the next morning, she runs downstairs to tell me who won the race. Read to your children, tell them stories. They will cherish this legacy that you are leaving for them to pass on. God bless, Jennifer and Courtney! Thank you for sharing your hearts and ideas.

    Thea

  20. I love reading with my kids. One series we have loved are the Meghan Rose books by Lori Z. Scott. They are all about a first grader named Meghan and she learns a Bible based life lesson in each story. I say series, but they can be read independently or in any order. They are easy chapter books that my older two kids can also read on their own, but we love reading them together too. The end of the books even have discussion questions, scripture references, and craft or activity ideas to go with the story. I just wish there were more!

    1. Sabrina, thank you for your kind words. I was searching for a Meghan related link online and came across your comment. What a nice surprise! I thought I’d let you know, books numbers 9 and 10 are being released this fall. They are “Meghan Rose and the Not-so Silent Night” (a Christmas tale) and “Meghan Rose Joins the Club.” I agree with the readers here though… there sure are a lot of fabulous books out there to enjoy.

  21. My boys are still toddlers so we enjoy the early reader books (like Dr. Suess) One of the sweetest things EVER was to walk in on our older son (3) “reading” (he’d memorized it) to our younger son (1.5). The younger one kept pointing at the book and my older son would say “Yeah, that’s a bird” or whatever was on the page. 🙂

  22. We are working through the Samantha series from the American girl collection. They are perfect for my 5 year daughter. She loves to read stories about little girls like her and I enjoy them as well. I was a fan of the collection as a young girl too;)We have picked up others at thrift stores and yard sales but the Samantha series is the only complete set we have found. Many times I have caught her “reading” her bible on her own and its so heartwarming and encouraging…now if only I could get my toddler boy to sit down long enough to listen to a story..he’s too busy to sit:)

    1. My son, 7, doesn’t sit still for long reading books either. When he was younger I told him he could play while listening as long as he wasn’t making noise. Sometimes he would color or draw. He’s getting better with age. Try giving your son a quiet toy to play with or letting him color while you read. My son would always pick up more of the story than I would give him credit for. It’s a win-win situation and eventually he’ll pay more attention to the story than his toys and it’s a good exercise for when it’s time to start school and they have to sit still for longer periods of time.

      1. Lisa, all of my children keep their hands busy while we read and they are all teens 13, 15, and 16. I sometimes think they are not paying attention and will have them tell me what is going on in the story and they can tell me more than I can remember myself. It has always been that way. I used to think they had to sit still and look at me while I read, but they couldn’t focus that way. Just because their hands are busy doesn’t mean their minds are not soaking up the story.

  23. I’m reading Kingdom’s Dawn as well as The Story for Kids: Discovering The Bible From Beginning To End to my two younger boys, ages 7 & 9. The 7 year old can get a bit distracted while reading KD but as long as I allow him to play while I’m reading he can still pick up the plot here and there. My 9 year old is loving it. The both really love hearing from The Story and always have questions or comments. For my 12 year old daughter I’m reading Glory Be which she picked out from her school’s book fair stack. She’ll sometimes come while I’m reading to the boys and listen in. The last time I read to my 14 year old was last summer when I was trying to get him to start on The Outsiders, which was his summer reading for school. He didn’t think he’d like it but he ended up liking it. Before that I’d read maybe two summers ago to both of the older two, Pilgrims Progress. I’d gotten a kid’s version or the one where it’s easier for them to understand. The 14 year old doesn’t really like to be read to, but thankfully we did enough of that when he was little that he LOVES to read now and considered it a punishment when we were unable to read him a bedtime story. My daughter didn’t like to read much, but because we read to her, now she’ll read on her own. We just made sure we found a serious she liked. . . Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo. I’m hoping the same holds true for my 7 year old . . .the 9 year old likes to read so it worked with him as well. (The youngest just came to me to say he finished the book he started yesterday – A Ben 10 book). We’ve just got to find something he’s interested in and right now he’s crazy about Ben 10, so that helps. The older three are honor roll kids so I know the reading contributed to that. Another reason why I was insistent on getting back started this summer with reading at bedtime. I’m hoping it’ll help the little one in school to do better and bring his average/below average grades up a bit. I’d really slipped up on reading during the school year due to homework and extra curricular’s. But now it’s back to reading.

  24. my kiddos are now 24 (married) & 26 so it’s been quite a while since we’ve read books together. 😉 however, the one book that i vividly remember us reading together that they begged for more when it was time to end for the night was A Hive of Busy Bees by Don & Joyce Discover. “These are delightful stories which build character & emphasize God’s delightful place in the lives of growing children.” (taken from the inside back cover). There is a second book called, Another Hive of Bees. Both books are designed for ages 5-10. I highly encourage reading to your children and now wish i had done even more!

  25. May I use parts of this –5 Spiritual Reasons to Read to Your Children– for an article in our church bulletin? I am a volunteer librarian for our church and think this might encourage parents to read and use the library.
    Worked in a public school library and know the”unwritten” limitations/guidelines away from any type of Christian literature. I would love to hear from those who have recommendations for reading for 1st -4th chapter or picture or beginner reader books for our library.

  26. We love reading the Moody series books which you can find through titus2.com. The Maxwell family’s oldest daughter started writing these books when she was 16. Right now we are reading through Teddy’s Button which is from the Lamplighter series. My 8 year old loves it and my almost 4 year old daughter struggles with this one. I am convicted because I used to read hours to my son when he was little, but have not read so much to my daughter. She still loves to be read to. We have a lot of books to go through. This is encouraging me to get back to simplicity because there is nothing more important to do right now than to pour into my children. We have cried through where the Red Fern Grows. My daughter loves the Jesus Story Book bible and these books where a little girl goes through a mirror to bible land. I am so excited for all of the book referrals.

  27. My youngest is a teen-age boy, and we’ve enjoyed reading through some of Bob Schultz’s books, like Boyhood and Beyond , Created For Work, Everyday Battles, and Practical Happiness.

  28. Now that it’s summertime my 8 and 4 year old boys and I make several trips to the library each week. I love seeing their excitement as they search on their own…they have a blast!! I try to make suggestions, but ultimately they make the final decision of what they check out. I feel thus gives them a sense of independence. My youngest is excited to check out chapter books like his big brother. No matter the age expose children to reading aloud materials. My parents, my siblings, and I along with our families gather at least once a year to read about the birth of Jesus at Christmas time. We read aloud all the Christmas cards at this time slap. On birthdays we read aloud the birthday cards. We’re a family that believes in reading together aloud, no matter how big or small!

    1. Noticed a few typos after posting…loving technology today!
      *this, not thus and also, not slap

  29. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and comments! My mother read to me as a child, and I’m a complete bookworm.

    When I first had children I read to them because I thought that it was important to do, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it at first. My children are 3 and 4 now, and reading to them and going to the library is one of my favorite things to do with them. I really look forward to it.

    An earlier commenter mentioned they read the Boxcar children to their young children, and I think I might try that. I’ve only read picture books to them, so it will be interesting to see if they would enjoy me reading a chapter book to them.

  30. Our favorite book of all time is Little Pilgrim’s Progress. I started to read it aloud to the kids, but my husband was so intrigued that he took it on a work trip, read the whole book, came home and declared that HE was going to finish reading it to the kids. And he did… all in one day! They couldn’t put it down. It is the type of story that we refer to countless times during different life situations. My kids were 6, 8, 10 when we read it the first time… now my youngest is 10 and wants to read it again. 🙂

    It would be unkind of me not to mention adding Just David… a book of such purity of heart! And don’t forget The Golden Thread… a great visual story about staying on the path of righteousness.

  31. Hi Courtney and Courtney’s ‘Sis’! 🙂

    We LOVE to read in our family. We’ve read some fun ‘Classics’ together like The Little House series, Narnia series, The Greatest Christmas Pagaent Ever (hialrious!), Charlott’s Web, Stories from Grandma’s Attic and some new ones, too, like “The Pinderwick’s” . . .

    Most recently, we read “Kises from Katie”. It is AMAZING! I have followed Katie’s journey on her blog for a couple years now, so I was thrilled when she told her story in book format! And it is heart changing! For us grown-ups, as well as for our kids! It was a bit over-the-head for our youngest listener (6), but my secret is that the books that aren’t as “easy listening”, we save for bedtime. We pose it as, “O.K., it is bedtime now and you are free to go to bed, if you’re too tired. But, anyone who would rather stay up and snuggle on the couch while I read a chapter of (insert whatever book here), may do so . . .” It’s amazing what attentive little ears we have at bedtime versus other times of the day! And even the littlest ones do glean something from our special reading times. 🙂

    Love from Oregon,

    ~Amber

  32. We are currently reading The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr. As we will be reading the last chapter tonight before bed, tomorrow we will be starting on Hero Over Here by Kathleen Kudlinski, Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright and Half Magic by Edward Eager. We are working our way through some Sonlight recommended books and loving it! My older son has a summer book list from his Catholic high school which include, Tom Sawyer, The Hobbit, West Side Story, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Ender’s Game, all of which I am looking forward to reading as well.

  33. We are also reading Kisses from Katie and really enjoying it. I love reading to the kiddos, but feel kinda guilty when I read posts about reading to your kids for “hours.” The days are too full, or maybe I am not prioritizing right!

  34. I have really been working on reading more. We’ve been involved in the summer reading program at our library again this summer, so we are reading at least 10 books a week that are new books to us. I’m trying to find chapter books my 5 year old would like that have few pictures. I really want to feed his imagination with these books, so he will always enjoy reading.

  35. This was a great post, and so affirming to me. I’ve read to my children for years. They are currently 16, 15, and 13 and we still read together as a family – almost daily. We read lots of good books for history, such as books by G. A. Henty, the Bible, and some historical fiction because that is the fiction we love best. The Life of Faith series of books were wonderful. I have two daughters and a son, and while these books had main characters that were girls, there were enough boy characters in them to be interesting and even exciting sometimes to my son. We learned a lot of Biblical principles in reading these books, and sometimes they dealt with difficult situations, but were focused on living for God. (Series title characters – Elsie Dinsmore, Millie Keith, Violet Travilla, Laylie Colbert, Kathleen McKenzie – can be found on Amazon or used book stores online)

    I’m always trying to find good books, and have realized that the overwhelming majority of books published today will lead our children away from God. We have to go to the old, out of print books to find good, God honoring material. But I’m thankful that some Christian publishers are printing some of these old books again and making them available to us. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen on the Lamplighter website as well. They have some sample audio dramas that I’ve been listening to and I would love the get the audios and the books. We do avoid books with any type of magic regardless of the outcome of the story. God says stay away from it so we try to honor Him in our reading as well.

  36. We are reading through a little devotional called, “God’s Alphabet for Life” by Joel Beeke and Heidi Boorsma, which I really enjoy. My only issue is the verses are all in King James Version, which is hard for little ones to understand. I switch them to NAS as I’m reading! My five year old is really taking it in, but the 2 year old only half listens! I’m looking forward to the recommended books list!

  37. What great advice. I am definitely storing this away to implement when my daughter gets old enough. She is about to be born and as we wait I am gathering ideas and inspirations to help her develop a strong spiritual foundation and a faith in the Lord that is her own. I love these 4 reasons of why to read to our children and I hope I am able to read to her often and develop not only a love for reading, but also a deeper love for the Lord. Thank you for the post! http://whatsoeverislovelyliving.com/

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