I don't want to take much of your time today--I know how hectic things can get around the holidays. I just want to suggest a really great, totally free gift idea for the kids in your life.
This holiday season, give the gift of story time.
Sharing stories is one of life's great pleasures. Reading together helps build strong, positive relationships; it also allows sharers to bond over the stories they read together, whether the stories are funny, sad, touching, scary, or full of adventure. What we share with others becomes a part of our common experience, a touchstone for our future interactions with one another. Stories help us to find our best friends.
Sharing stories is also one of the best things you can do to help prepare a child to succeed in life. Children who are read to frequently and with love are usually better readers and better overall students than those who don't have stories shared with them regularly. Children who experience stories have higher vocabularies and better general understanding about the world; they are often more imaginative than children who did not hear stories, and they are better able to weave their own lives into narrative format, too. Who wouldn't want to give a gift with that sort of lifelong impact?
So this holiday season, grab a few of your favorite books from the library or a bookstore (indie if you can). Sit down to share those books with the children in your life, and plan to spend at least 20 minutes reading together. Go ahead, you can even be indulgent and make this story time a habit. Add songs and rhymes, finger plays and puppets, even silly voices; anything that helps stories jump off the page and into the memory and the heart.
Story time is a gift that can make a big difference--both for the child you read to and for you. Consider giving the gift of story time this year.