Guest post from author Nancy I. Sanders.
Children are a precious gift from the Lord. God cherishes little ones so much that He chose to come to earth as a baby and grow as a little child.
As parents and educators it is our honor and privilege to open up the world of learning to the hearts and minds of our children. We get to teach them the joy and love of reading! But even more than that, it is our holy calling to teach them the joy and love of reading God’s Word.
My husband Jeff and I have two sons who are grown now with families of their own. We read aloud to them from infancy on up through junior high and listened to books-on-tape together through high school and college days. We shared many precious times together both reading in general and specifically reading the Bible.
Cuddles and Comfies
The first ingredients we can mix into the learning environment for our young readers are lots of cuddles and comfies. Teachers, set up a comfortable reading center with beanbags chairs, oversized pillows, and a soft rug. Parents, cuddle up with your children and pull them onto your lap and into the circle of your arms as you read aloud or listen to them read. Associate reading and the reading of God’s Word with comfort, love, security, and peace.
Jesus spoke often of the importance of investing in the kingdom of God with our time, talents, and money. Invest in the time and commitment it takes to read to your children and with them. Invest in quality books and Bible stories for your young learners. Surround them with baskets of age-appropriate books, tote bags and backpacks of favorite titles, and bookshelves at their level bursting with a variety of titles to choose from. We often describe our own home as a “nest of books.” You’ll see books in every room, many of them treasured friends, easy to pick up and handy to reach. Know that your investment in Bibles and Christian books for your children will produce an eternal reward.
One of the best ways we can help our children learn to read is to model reading ourselves. Sit down and let your children see you reading a good book. Take time to read the Bible every day and share with your young disciples about what you’ve read. Establish regular family devotions and prayer around the breakfast or dinner table. One successful way we found to do this was to read a short devotion or selected Bible passage at dinner each night together. Demonstrate to your children the joy and hope you find in feeding daily on God’s Word.
In the beginning was the Word. As we teach our young children how to read words on a page, we’ll be starting them on a lifelong adventure of reading God’s Word, the most important and eternal journey of all.
Nancy I. Sanders is the author of One Sentence Storybooks. You can visit her book’s site for reading fun and activities at https://nancysbookzone.wordpress.com/one-sentence-storybooks/