Start reading early with kids

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 15, 2018

When I was a kid, I was surrounded by books.

When I went to Tennessee to visit my grandparents, my grandmother would stay up late and read children’s books to me, encouraging me to sound out the words.

At home, my mother took me on regular trips to the library so I could pick out something exciting to read.

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As I grew older, I started writing my own stories. My love of reading and writing helped me in school and led me to the career I have today.

While I was growing up, reading not only spurred my imagination, it taught me valuable things about life and the world as well.

Reading taught me about anatomy and the immune system, about geography and zoology, about space and the ocean and about different cultures across the world. Some of the books may have had silly cartoons and the information may have been greatly simplified, but it still helped me grow and develop.

Far too often I see children with smart phones and tablets playing games or watching TV instead of reading or going outside to play.

When I was growing up, I had a strict limit on how long I could be in front of the TV, so I filled my time with books instead.

My sister has three young children and every time they come by to visit, they pull out a book, bring it to me and excitedly request that I read it to them. Even though they aren’t quite old enough to read the words on their own, the stories always capture their imagination.

Looking at their tiny faces while I read, I can see their imaginations being swept away to another world.

Encouraging children to read at a young age may not only spark their imagination, but it will help them grow and learn at the same time.