Would you be smarter if you could download 1,000 books into your brain? Downloading 5,000 books into your child’s brain can be done in minutes a day. Reading to your child a few minutes every day is a super new year’s resolution. The following infographic shows how easy it is for just a few books a day to be over one thousand in just a year, but here’s the quick math. Five books a day, five times a week, is 25 books in a week, or 100 in a month. Twelve months times 100, is over 1,000. By the time a child goes to school at age 5, that’s the staggering number of 5 to 6,000 books. Even if it’s 1 favorite book, 1,000 times, it still counts!
Reading books doesn’t just have to happen at bedtime. Some families find a few minutes in the morning for a book or two. Breakfast for the mind. Tuck a small book into a bag for sharing in line at the grocery store or the bank, or anywhere else you have to wait. For other times, share a story that you remember like The Three Little Pigs or one that you make up from imagination. Here’s a story to start “Once upon a time, instead of waking up to breakfast, everybody slept all day and woke up to supper….” You can finish it however you like.
Share books and stories in your family language and the language of the country where you live. Yes, there are digital stories that kids can access but, like a secret ingredient in a recipe, the interaction between a child and a parent that takes place on a lap is very important. Pass along the family stories, the ones about when you went to school and others. In an article about Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, Eric Barker quotes him as saying:
…researchers at Emory did this study that showed that the kids who know more about their family history had a greater belief that they could control their world and a higher degree of self-confidence. It was the number one predictor of a child’s emotional well-being. (The Week: 6 things the happiest families all have in common)
Your voice in books and stories will echo in your child’s memory for a lifetime. Just a few minutes a day is all it takes. Will this be a new year’s resolution for you and your child?