In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of a cow jumping over the moon" To this day my oldest son?now a strapping 17-year-old?gets Goodnight Moony-eyed when he hears me read these lines, though nowadays I'm reading to his youngest brothers. Just goes to show how the stories we read our children night after night stay nestled in their hearts forever.
And, I must admit, they nestle in mine. Thirty years of turning pages with my children hasn't diminished at all the wonder of children's stories. I still perk up at the rhythms and well-chosen words of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I'm still captivated by the whimsical images of Runaway Bunny. But there's much more in those pages than meets the ear and eye. The longer I read with my kids?from books like The Rainbow Fish and Where the Wild Things Are, The Tales of Narnia and David Copperfield?the more I appreciate the deep impact stories have on the lives of children.
The Emotional Factor
There's nothing like snuggling up with your child and digging into a wonderful story. Not only does reading to and with your child help her develop a love of books, it helps her develop emotional intelligence as well. Emotional intelligence is what we use to discern what we feel?anger, joy, frustration, contentment?why we feel it, and what we can do about it. Emotional intelligence is a vital skill to teach our children, and they need our help to find appropriate ways to express their feelings. Stories can be one of the most effective tools for doing that.