By Elizabeth prata
Reading with children
“Engaging children in reading experiences presents infinite opportunities for developing language and emergent literacy skills,” says this education site in Victoria, Australia. Other sites around the world find the same research outcomes. Further, “The frequency of reading to children at a young age has a direct causal effect on their
schooling outcomes regardless of their family background and home environment.”
As an educator myself, I’ve seen the same results. In 1998 I participated in creating and implementing a longitudinal study called Project Story Boost, where at-risk young elementary children were paired with an older student and read with/to once per week for an extended period, with friendly discussions afterward. We found that that reading aloud using an interactive style improved children’s early literacy skills, comprehension, and story vocabulary. The experience highlighted the fact that both the quality of book reading experiences and the frequency of book reading are critical. Engagement and motivation for reading increased. It was all good.
The project has been replicated in the United States and as far afield as Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
It sounds simple, but the results and longevity of the impact on children in reading startled even us, who expected such results.
How much more important is it to read the Bible with your children? It is never too early to read God’s word to them. Even as a baby, the comfort they feel of being held by mom or dad, hearing the soothing cadence of the voice as the story is read, the closeness of the experience, all will embed in their body. The words of truth embed in their soul.
The Spirit takes the words from His inspired Bible and circulates them in the child’s brain and spirit. As they grow and begin to understand language, the words will come to mean even more. The intimate experience of sharing the most important thing: God’s word, will create an atmosphere of love and trust like no other.
If random strangers forging a relationship over texts with children in a busy elementary school impact children so dramatically, the daily encounter between parents and their own children at home forging truth via God’s word will not only impact, not only show dramatic results, but will have eternal consequences.
Read the Bible with your children. Discuss. Answer their questions. It is the thread of life.