staff fisher judySo what do all educators tell you? Read to your kids. Then they cite the educational literature with statistics proving that by reading, your child will become a better reader, or your child will develop strong listening skills, or your child will improve their comprehension. Of course this is true.

But what they miss is the fact that you, as a parent will become a better parent. By reading to your child, you will understand their inner being. You will recognize what makes them sad, what makes them happy, what makes them angry and what makes them want to take on the world.

When you curl up with your child in bed each and every night, and when you choose the story (with the imbedded and subtle meaning you can’t lecture about but can artfully construct) you have the ability to shape the message. You want to develop empathy: Sounder or Ruby’s Story. How about racial sensitivity? Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Humane animal treatment? Shiloh. And so it goes.

But more than that, reading to your child on a daily basis or listening to audio tapes (instead of TV videos) connects you to the innermost thoughts of your child. You begin to understand them. You know them. Who knows? Maybe read them like a book! And in knowing your child, you can better maneuver the unknown path ahead.

Written by Judy Fisher

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