It's National Read Across America Day -- an annual reading motivation and awareness event encouraging children to celebrate reading on the birthday of children's author Dr. Seuss. Although kids may be choosing to play with tablets and video games rather than traditional toys and books, it's important for parents to still read with their children every day.
"Reading with your children daily is a great way to build a strong connection with them," said Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, founder of Daddy & Co. (formerly Daddyscrubs), which sells gifts for dads. "All parents can benefit from learning about why reading is integral for a child."
Each night Nickell decided to put away the remote and read to his children. Here are five reasons why:
It encourages learning: "Research has shown that the most important thing a parent can do to help their child learn and understand language is to read to them," he said. "Have them repeat certain words and phrases back as you read aloud. It helps them gain a stronger grasp of pronunciation, rhythm of speech and helps build self-confidence."
It encourages quality time: Reading with your child establishes a bond and strengthens the friendship and love between the two of you, he said. "The stories may be simple and you may hae to read them a million times, but you will be creating memories that will stay with them well into adulthood."
It encourages communication: "Whether it simply starts a conversation with a child or it allows you to tackle some of the tougher topics involved in the different childhood stages, reading together opens those lines and gets you talking," he said. "When you read together, you become a 'safe' person to ask questions and get advice from. Your child will also look to you as a leader and an example to follow."
It encourages imagination: With no television to look at, your children have no choice but to listen and let their imagination flow. "Being creative makes for a moldable adult who can fit in all social situations and excel in any industry and in any career he or she may choose," said Nickell.
It encourages love: "Yes, your child will learn to read earlier, have a stronger vocabulary and become a better writer if they read more, but they will also know that they are loved and cared for by an attentive parent," he said. "Their self-esteem and confidence will grow and you'll have a stronger bond with them. All of these outcomes will shape them to be strong and capable adults with positive outlooks and bright futures."