This post comes from someone who is both a bibliophile and a speech-language pathologist. We've all heard "read to your kids" a million times (plus two) and I think most of us know that reading to children, the younger the better, increases their chances of being successful in school.
I have no argument with that. I want my kids to do well. I know the research, I've seen firsthand the results, and so we read together every day.
But now here's the book-lover's argument.
I want my kids to love books! I don't simply want them to learn to read and excel in the classroom, I want them to get to know the boy with the strange scar on his forehead who lives under the stairs at number four, Privet Drive. I want my children to know what it's like to raise a dragon. I want them to travel with Meg via tesseract to another galaxy to rescue Meg's father. I want them to get to know Scout and Jem, Bilbo Baggins, Wilbur and Charlotte, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, and yes, even Katniss Everdeen.
Growing up, I'm so glad I was able to escape into another world when I needed to. I'm so grateful for all the things I've learned and continue to learn by reading.
A terrific quote I recently read sums it up best for me:
"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all."
— Jacqueline Kennedy