Revolutionize Your Family With Reading
American poet Emily Dickenson understood the invaluable experience that books can provide all of us. In the lines above, she creates a metaphor of a great ship and a book. Reading transports us, not only to amazing, new, far off places, but it builds character and fortifies our soul. Don’t trust ol’ Emily? What about the modern medical community? In numerous scientific studies, reading had countless benefits:
- improves brain connectivity.
- increases vocabulary and comprehension.
- inspires empathy and compassion for others.
- aids in sleep readiness.
- reduces stress.
- lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
- fights depression symptoms.
- prevents cognitive decline in aging
Yet with all that glowing scientific proof, sadly, reading is a dying discipline. A recent study stated that 8-12 year-olds are on screens four to six hours a day. On average, teenagers were consuming up to 9 hours of media daily. Yowza. As screen time usage skyrockets, the idea of picking up a good book becomes even more outlandish. The American Psychology Association found that only 20% of teenagers read a book, magazine, or newspaper for pleasure. It’s not just kids who are adversely affected. According to a 2018 Pew research study, nearly one fourth of American adults had not read a single book (partially or in full)—in one year. Both studies were conducted three years ago. In 2021, after a year of sporadic quarantines, the statistics must be even more sobering.
But there’s a silver lining in all of this—
Individually, parents may not be able to turn back the tides of an encroaching book-free, screen-dominated society, but they have the awesome power to revitalize and influence their own family culture in a way that has major impact! Together, families like yours, who invest in reading and screen-free family activities, eventually create a sea shift in the world. That is the power of living out character strengths. They have far reaching consequences beyond our own scope. Reading develops important character strengths like orderliness, discipline, wonder, and patience.
Books aren’t your thing? It’s never too late to make small changes that pack a punch. Think about implementing some new, but super easy traditions now so your family can fully experience the amazing benefits. And there’s no better time to kick things off than during the lazy days of summer.
5 Practical Tips to Cut Down on Screen Time & Kick Start Summer Reading:
Always have lots of books around the house—people are consuming books electronically. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but it can increase reliance on electronics. Make frequent trips to the library. Invest in classic book collections. Just having a bunch of them in the vicinity will increase your family’s sense of curiosity. They’re a great go-to in the midst of “mooom, I’m bored” moments.
Strike a Pose! It’s crucial to model reading to your kiddos. If they see that reading is a priority to you, they’ll be more open to it. You may be reading loads of e-books on your phone or computer, but they don’t know that. Put down the devices and pick up physical books. Join or start an adult book club. Not only can it enrich your life, your kids will catch on to how important learning and talking about books is.
Tap into Great Book Lists. Finding age-appropriate books can be a challenge. But don’t be deterred. There are loads of great lists out there that you and your kids can work their way through. I’m partial to Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival Book Lists. She breaks them down according to age and gender. She even has an adult book list or two. Also, simply google search classics books for kids as a start.
Institute Daily D.E.A.R. (DROP EVERYTHING AND READ) Time. Carve out 15-30 minutes each afternoon to retreat to books. Kids who are no longer nappers need downtime too. This is a great way to slow down & breathe. It can create a calming effect on everyone. Even non-readers can page through picture books quietly. Just be sure to use the time to read yourself. No doing dishes!
- Read Aloud Regularly to Your Kids! And not just at bedtime. Even if your kids are young, they’ll appreciate a chapter book that is age appropriate. Read aloud during lunch, or in a designated time in the morning or evening. Weave it into your routine. Something like the Little House series would be great beginner books to engage everyone’s imagination. Not only will your kids treasure that time together, they’ll experience profound growth. The Cleveland Clinic found that reading at home boosts school performance later on. It also increases vocabulary, raises self-esteem, builds communication skills and develops the child’s brain. Do you need any more proof?
That’s why we make sure each Adventure into Character Kit comes with a special read-aloud story designed to let children walk in the footsteps of a real-life hero. When families join our subscription box experience, they unbox incredible reading content right at their fingertips. Children will be captivated by historical figures like Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, and Andrew Carnegie who lived out character strengths like, organization & order, gratitude, generosity, respect, and more. It spurs on great family discussions too which draws everyone closer. If you’re looking for engaging lessons that will heighten your child’s interest in building character, check out Adventure into Character.
Let’s read our way to a revolution, one book at a time. Happy summer reading!
If you have an issue you’d like our help with, drop us a line at Hello@FamiliesofCharacter.com. If you’re experiencing a problem, chances are thousands of other families are in the same boat. We’re ALL in this parenting boat together!
Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.