I have always loved to read. As I look back, I am hard-pressed to remember a time when I wasn’t reading. And, yes, I am that person who always has a book (or two) on me, just in case I’m stuck in a line, or at a very long red light.
I was excited when apps and e-readers became widely available for ease of carrying. I have been very blessed to also have a parent who instilled in me a love of the written word and made sure to read to me as a child, encouraging me in that love as I grew through my young adult and adult life.
Not all children are so lucky. More than 1 in 3 American children start kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read. It has been estimated that over a million children live in areas that do not have access to libraries.
Early childhood reading sets them up for success later in life by introducing critical thinking, vocabulary building, and most especially by shoring up the bond between parent and child, providing a strong foundation they can build on.
Early childhood reading can also entail reading out loud with a parent, a sibling, or another family member. It is an amazing opportunity to bond with the child and to connect on a deeper level. Reading out loud also helps with building vocabulary and seeing how the wider world interacts with each other. It is a great way to spend one-on-one time with your child and take a few moments out of a busy day for calmness and tranquility that can create a lasting habit of finding a way to relax and reset as our days get more hectic.
However, it doesn’t just stop with children. There are benefits to reading at all ages. Adults who read regularly can see improved sleep and memory, good exercise for the brain, a reduction of stress, and increased motivation. Who couldn’t use a good night’s sleep and less stress? I know I can! The great benefits of reading are nothing new; this is something we have known since Biblical times.
Part of our calling as Christians is to read the Word (Ephesians 4:14–16; Romans 12:1–2). Regular reading of the Bible gives us an ever deeper understanding of the Father, helps us reorient our thinking so we can grow and mature, brings us peace, and peace of mind, with God’s holy, unchanging, faithful, gracious, and loving character.
We can also find God through the works of Christian authors. JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis come to my mind. They created rich worlds all based on their faith in the Father. However, there are so many Christian authors out there, and so much we can learn from each other. Take a look at Christianbook for inspiration!
For many, the thought of reading is intimidating, boring, or a sense of “I just don’t have the time.” Or, have you heard that only “real” books count, meaning a hardback or paperback? Don’t listen!
Reading comes in many different forms! Do you love comic books? Great! Are you interested in something short and sweet? Go for it! Do you have a hard time with printed words? Me too! Audiobooks are a great way to “read” a book.
I encourage you to go to your local library for resources. They are filled with so many ways to read and people who will be excited to partner with you on your journey. Many libraries even have an online version for access to e-books and audiobooks. You may be surprised by what you find.
If you are service-minded, libraries are also great places to volunteer. Many have programs for all ages throughout the year and this is a great way to be involved in the community.
Reading became an escape during my parents’ divorce, and for many years after. The stories of heroes, both expected and unexpected, allowed me to become the hero of my own story and to find my inner strength. They showed me that the shadow will pass and when it does, the sun will shine all the clearer.
I have always been able to find solace in a book and it has been my sincere hope that others are able to enjoy reading as much as I do. That you can find peace, happiness, and a place where you can share with those you cherish.
Hopefully, I have sparked some of my love for reading in you and I am excited for YOUR journey with reading. May it be blessed and fruitful!