By Amy Koide
Reading is important to development in early childhood. It can help in developing cognition, empathy, knowledge, relationships, vocabulary, concentration, literacy skills, imagination, and creativity. It can also improve social skills and interactions. Reading can teach you more about art, science, technology, history, and culture. It can make the foreign more familiar by introducing us to people and places we wouldn't normally interact with.
Books are a way to connect with things that may be foreign to us. This is an excellent way to educate children and show them both the differences and similarities they might have with other children in far away lands or who live under different circumstances.
If you have a desire to introduce your kids to other traditions, ideas, and points of view, reading books is a great way to help them broaden their horizons. Scour your local library for books on agreed upon topics and have fun with it. When we've done this, my kids and I learn right alongside each other and they have more fun knowing that Mom is learning too. Sometimes we make a game out of it, trying to find facts that the other didn’t know, write them down, and keep score. Usually, I let them win, which makes it even more fun for them. It might be difficult to know where to begin, so here are some ideas that can make it easier to integrate into your routine and make things relevant to them.
Learning shouldn’t only happen at school. Learning can and does take place in the home whether you realize it or not. What you see around you shapes you. If you only see people who are like you, your life experiences will be limited. Reading about other people, places, and ideas will broaden your child’s horizons and also make the world feel a bit smaller and more familiar. Diversifying reading material at a young age can help to combat harmful stereotypes and stigmas associated with people of different backgrounds, making for a more tolerant, loving world.
Amy Koide grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and moved to Provo with her family four years ago. She has a background in Early Childhood Education as well as Special Education. Reading has always been a big part of her upbringing, especially because her mother, grandmother, and grandfather were all teachers. She is an avid reader who shares that love with her neighbors and family.