How to Develop Empathy with Reading
Unless the book is just words for pictures, there are characters in stories. Take the opportunity to discuss the characters’ feelings and points of view. This is a chance to help your child learn the vantage points of others. Usually this ability to sit in another’s shoes doesn’t develop until age four, but with these kinds of discussions it will surely be enhanced.
Reading to Your Child Helps Create “Smart Kids”
Research on academically “smart kids” around the world reveals that they have parents who read to them daily. Reading often occurs at bedtime as part of a pleasant going-to-bed ritual. However, it’s nice to add any time during the day as an activity unto itself, as well as, a way to take a break from a hectic day. I suggest reading regularly from paper books rather than sharing a story online in a notebook like Kindle. There’s pleasure in turning actual pages, touching words and pictures on paper pages, and holding big books together.
Reading as a Calming Activity
Children and parents often have hectic, rushed days. Reading is a constructive activity that shares a social connection, builds child-parent bonds, and settles racing moods while learning about feelings, new information, following a story line or sequence that teaches moral lessons and the results of characters’ actions.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is an author and psychoanalyst who specializes in infant-parent, child, adolescent and adult psychotherapy. She formerly was an elementary school teacher who specialized in working with children with reading and learning disabilities. Check out her blog, Parental Intelligence.