I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

What's in the Touch of a Book, Anyway?

Do you read to your child?
Somehow as moms we have lost the time to read to our children. Not that we don’t want to, but….

When I nursed, I often read to the older boys. I had a glider big enough to allow the toddler who still needed my touch to sit beside me, while I nursed the baby and the other boys lounged on the floor. We explored together the adventures of Little House on the Prairie, Little Britches, and so many others. Sometimes the reading continued long after the nursing baby fell asleep, just because I needed to rest and we were at a good place in the book. And who wants to stop?

Today, with apps that read to our children, we often think it not necessary for us to read out-loud to our children. What harm is that? Aren’t they exposed to the different worlds just the same?

Research done by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital says different.
Using picture books as opposed to ebooks for toddlers were researched.
What did they find?
Parents interact more with physical picture books, as opposed to e-books and e-readers.
They pause.
They point to the pictures.
Ask questions.
Talk about it.
They interact with their child as they read.

You say, you can do that with e-books.
But the research found the parents interacted more with the toddler about the technology, rather than the actual book.
“Don’t touch that button…Don’t press the volume.”
By the time the book was finished, they wondered what they had read!

With an e-book, the child only wants to press the button so the picture changes, much like at Christmas when they want to unwrap all their gifts quickly without appreciating each one.
The specialness is gone.
It’s more about finishing the book then knowing the story.
It teaches an impatience of  “What’s next?” rather than “What does this story tell?”

The study further demonstrated that snuggling and cuddling occured more with a physical book.
Lap-sitting is almost necessary to fully appreciate the paper-picture.
Whereas the e-book can be projected on the wall and seen by everyone in the room. 

By relying on e-books, we can almost not read to our children.
Couldn’t I do more things if I didn’t stop to read to my child?
But those things won’t instruct your child on how to discern what is right and good and best. 
You must take an active role in instructing your child in those important things.
Unless you want someone else’s values taught to your child.
Reading to your child helps you do that.
This study shows that reading with a physical book further helps.

Technology has its place in our lives. Like it or not.
But we, as parents, most guard our homes to its harm. And remember our child wants YOU.
What we miss without the touch of a real book is more than you can imagine.

Displaying 1 comment

What I miss the very most about home schooling our children is reading to them every evening. As you said, every age can be included and even when the kids were older but still at home, they couldn't resist listening in on a good book. Little Britches is still one of their favorites and both our boys have their own set. I remember one time I started a book when one of the girls wasn't around to here, so I told her to read the first chapter herself so she could catch up for the next evening. She didn't particularly like the book, yet I'd read it before and knew she would love it. So I insisted to listen to some that evening and she felt totally different. There's something about "hearing" a book as opposed to reading it that brings a book alive. I'd gotten rather tired of reading Little House on the Prairie to each successive child, so Steve read it one year and I enjoyed it so much. It's so sad at how much kids today are missing out on.

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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