A lot of parents have questions, like us, whether it is appropriate to pay your kids to read books. We have thought about it long and hard and researched the benefits of kids reading at an early age. Here we outline 8 compelling benefits to encouraging your child to read at an early age and why we have chosen to PAY our kids to read books!
8 Benefits to Encouraging Your Child to Read At An Early Age
Melani & I believe it is very important for the kids to be strong readers. So much so – that we unabashedly pay them to read chapter books! ($5 for each chapter book – maybe even more if it is an adult sized book or a reference book!) Hence, the title of today’s post – Reading to EARN.
When Melani was pursuing her masters degree – her thesis was about the importance of reading aloud to kids before they are able to read for themselves. Studies indicate that children that are read aloud to are more inclined to develop into strong readers than those that are not read aloud to on a regular basis.
That was years before we had any children. However, the lesson was not lost on us. When we were finally blessed with children – we whole-heartedly embraced the strategy of reading aloud to our children.
It didn’t hurt that both Melani and I like to read – and the kids saw that we enjoyed reading books. I do think that is a crucial component of the equation – since, after all, the kids are more inclined to do as they see – rather than what they are just told to do.
I also remember something that Melani told me years ago – which was that the goal was that by 4th grade the students would be reading to learn – rather than still learning to read. As a note – Melani was a elementary teacher before she got promoted to being a private tutor @ our house exclusively for our children.
What are some of the other benefits of being a strong reader? I have listed several other benefits that we believe follow from a child being an early and strong reader.
- Being able to read helps them learn. They can read books, magazines and online articles to learn about other subjects and foster the development of other interests.
- It empowers them with regards to functioning well in our society and this world. They are inclined to feel more confident navigating and interacting with their environment when they are able to read instructions & signs, use computers, and do many of the other things that people need to be able to do to function well in our world.
- It helps them develop their concentration skills. Practice makes perfect – and when reading they are constantly employing their concentration skills.
- When reading, they are using their minds eye to envision what they are reading about. Doing so helps develop their imagination. They may be reading a description about something – but rarely are all the details provided. It is the imagination that takes over (and fills in the details) from where the description ends.
- Reading is more relaxing than watching TV. Although it may require more mental energy and activity, as compared to passively watching TV, the reader has more control over the pace of the story and the rate of stimulation. A sentence can be read slowly – or again – if something was missed or unclear. In contrast, there is less control when watching TV. It is a barrage of noise and flashing images on the senses in which the child has less control over the rate or intensity of stimulation.
- Reading exposes the child to new words and helps increase their vocabulary.
- Reading helps them experience a situation through someone else’s perspective, senses and perceptions. Since most books require more of a time commitment than simply watching a TV show or movie, it is likely they will feel more connected to the characters and develop more of a sense of empathy for them , and hopefully, others in general. It is not a bad thing to be able to see things through the eyes of another!
- It exposes them to structured thinking and the process of good storytelling. Good stories have an engaging beginning that draws you into the story. It progresses and builds tension throughout the middle and ends strongly with a climax and resolution. To do so it must be presented in a logical and coherent manner. Having exposure to this type of structured thinking helps them develop their own skills to think, present, and communicate in a similar structured format. This will help them develop both their oral and written communication skills, which is an absolutely essential component to their success in life.
That is why we are not ashamed to admit that we are willing to pay our children to read books – and proud of the fact that they are all now enthusiastic readers.
If you are interested in learning how the kids use some of the money they earn, please see my post titled “The Dollar Drop“. To see what books we all liked and the total number of books each kid has read – please click here.
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