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Contemporary Parenting Questions


Last updated on 01/08/09

Why is reading so important for kids?

One of the biggest gifts parents can give their children is a love of reading. Teaching children to read is one thing, but encouraging them to do so is another. Parents can begin reading to their children from the moment they are born. Reading aloud to children will develop their speaking skills and help them to make connections – the look of words, the way they work in sentences, how the word functions. Books can help children to learn to concentrate, to explore their inner feelings, to express themselves and to resolve conflicts. Recent studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between literacy success and success within the wider world. Even self-esteem has been linked to the ability to read and write. Do not underestimate the power of books.

In the Jewish Community

Reading is vital for children of all ages and cultures. Since bilingualism is common in the Jewish community, it is important for parents to encourage their children to read books in every language that they can comprehend. One of the problems that many Jewish parents face while encouraging their children to read is the lack of appropriate books for religious Jews. Though Jewish books are readily available, they are costly and limited in quantity and quality. Jewish parents should not limit their children to Jewish books, but should scan their children’s choice of books to make sure that they are appropriate. Teens who have trouble finding appropriate books to read should ask their principals and teachers for book recommendations.

Use the following links to educate yourself about the importance of reading. Learn how to get your children excited about reading, and find out what your local library has to offer.

Frequently Asked Links

Why is it important for kids to read?

What can teens gain from reading?

Why is it important to read books to kids?

Can reading books to babies be beneficial?

Do toddlers benefit from reading?

How can I create a reader-friendly home?

How can I find the right book for my child?

When can I find opportunities to read to my children?

How can I read to my pre-schooler in an exciting way?

What can I do to encourage my child to read more?

How can I encourage my teen to read?

How can my child benefit from going to the library?

Where is my local public library?

Should children be encouraged to read in the summer?

Are my child’s reading skills developmentally appropriate?

How can I help my child read Hebrew?

By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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Reading Is Fundamental
Founded in 1966, RIF is the oldest and largest children's and family nonprofit literacy organization in the United States.

Association for Library Service to Children
This organization works in cooperation with the American Library Association. The site has a list of links for parents about safe Internet surfing as well as information about finding available resources in print, nonprint, and emerging formats.

Learning Beyond the Classroom
Summer reading activities for kids and teens ages 4-18 from the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

American Academy of Family Physicians
This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.

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