The five reasons I want my children to read

Don't you love that moment when you get sucked so deep into the words on the page in front of you that the world around you literally seems to fade to grey?

Don't you love that feeling of getting lost in the story playing out in your head?

Don't you love that moment when the book in front of you is no longer just a string of hundreds of sentences running together?

Don't you love that moment when the world playing out in front of your eyes is more real than the one you live in?

Don't you wish for your children to share this miracle and going far beyond being able to string the letters they see into words and sentences?

So why do so many parents – myself included – want more than for their children to be functionally literate? I clearly can’t answer for others, but my key concerns are not directly related to their future earnings capability or my sense of what careers I hope they will follow. Instead, it's all about a sheer sense of wonder. 

Here are my reasons.

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  • I want my children to literally have the world at their feet. In a world that is changing at neck-breaking speed I want them to be able to reinvent themselves as and when they want or need to. I want them to be able and willing participants in the new economy. I hope that they will not have a functional job that is at risk of being disintermediated by technology.
  • I want them to cultivate a sense of wonder about our beautiful planet and its ecosystems and history.
  • I want them to always have a sense of possibility and opportunity far wider than is in my limited power to show or tell them.
  • I want them to believe in a better future.
  • Reading is my happy place and while I am careful about vicarious living and a parental attitude that imposes my life framework on my children, I do want them to have the opportunity to love reading as much as I do.

As someone once said to me, “There is no substitute for lots of small steps”. So achieving the end goal of functional literacy started literally from my first day as a parent. We try to read aloud together at least once every day and it has become far more than “a parenting task”. It is a pleasure. It is a moment when either one or both of my children will snuggle up beside me and we lose ourselves together in the rhythm of the words and the jokes in the pictures. We read children’s books together because it is something we all enjoy. Story time is indeed a happy place for them as well.

And I hope that one day that love of the magic and power of stories will come full circle and they will love to read as much as they now love to listen.


What about you? Why do you want your children to love reading? Please tell us in the comment section below.

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