Reading to Children – A Dad’s Perspective

Reading to Children Can Change Their Lives

Reading to children is so very important, more important than we know. Experts say reading to children can have a huge impact on their lives, and I’ve seen that impact already on our daughter. It would be an understatement to say she LOVES reading… so much so that books are her favorite Christmas gifts.

I take a little bit of credit for inspiring her affection for literature. Since she was a tiny baby I read to her every night. The books we read changed as she grew, of course. Here are a few favorite baby books from another post. Now that she’s a teenager she saves her money to buy books, and reads for fun.

Reading to children - books our daughter loved

There was a book, written by a writer and poet more than a hundred years ago that my daughter and I both loved called “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”. Because the poem is in the public domain I’ll include it below. I also strongly recommend the following lovely book illustrated by David McPhail. The bunnies are super cute!

[note: the image below contains an amazon affiliate link should you wish to purchase this book]

Wynken Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field and David McPhail

Eugene W. Field was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1850, and was known for his humorous newspaper columns. He also wrote light verse, like this, for children. Paired with David’s delightful art, it’s a wonderful book. Here’s the text of the original poem. I hope you’ll read it, or just about anything, to your kids, too.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
Said Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
Never afraid are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

By Eugene Field

Final comment: before our daughter arrived other parents told me how important it was to read to children, and fortunately I listened to their advice. Our daughter’s love of books now that she’s a teenager is off the charts, and I believe she’s done so well in school because of the foundation laid by our reading to her.

So please, if you have a child or are planning to have one, consider adding books as a soothing element to your bedtime routine. Children respond very well to routine as they wind down to sleep, and the benefit goes far beyond this calming, bonding time with your children. It may even impact the rest of their lives.

Sending you and your family much love!

Michael

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