Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Post: The Importance of Reading with Your Children


For a long time, I have wanted to have someone else write a post on my blog. A guest-post. As I thought about who I would have do the first guest-blog post, I had to give it to my wife. For just over a year, she has been blogging at www.bookmoms.org. The tagline of her blog is "Reviewing Christian & Secular Children's Literature Through the Lens of the Gospel." She has a passion for helping younger parents read with and shepherd their children through what their kids are reading. And specifically, to use what they are reading as an avenue to teaching them the gospel. I hope you check out her blog and spread the word about it.

I asked her if she would be willing to write a short post on why it is important to read with your children.   Here is some advice from someone I would consider an expert in the field of what's out there in children's literature.

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We all know that reading is an important skill, particularly as we look to our children. The statistics are overwhelming that reading plays an integral role in the development and education of children. We all want our children to be good readers. Whether we read to our children or they are themselves readers, it is a primary way by which we learn new things. As Christians, are we using this skill to further the gospel in our children? Are we teaching our children the importance of reading and the importance of what they read? How can we do this? How can we use an everyday exercise to shepherd the hearts of our children? Here are a few suggestions:

First, Read the Bible with Your Children. Yes, read the Bible with them. I mean the actual words of Scripture, not just a Bible storybook. The inspired Words of God. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” This tells us that the words of Scripture are powerful in our lives and the lives of our children. Please do not send them the message that the Bible is only for adults, or that it is too difficult for them to understand. Teach them. Show them that God’s Word can be powerful in their life today. Begin today. Take the time to read the Bible with your children and as they become independent readers, encourage them to read it on their own.

Second, Know What Your Child is Reading. No matter what the age of your child, you should be knowledgeable about what they are reading. If it’s a book assigned at school, particularly one you are not familiar with, read it! Know what your child is being influenced by, what they are filling their mind with, what they are learning. Ask questions about what they are reading. It is only through being involved with what they are reading that you will be able to help them discern truth and error. 

Third, Communicate the Gospel Through What Your Child is Reading. No matter what they are reading, there is opportunity to speak Biblical truth and the gospel into their lives. Point out truths or untruths found in a story. Is there anything that contradicts Scripture? Talk about the actions of a given character, or an idea about God that is brought out in the story. Always point your child to the Bible and the gospel! Help them see the truth or untruth of a story based upon the Word of God, not our own opinion. No matter how much you try, your children are going to read things that contradict the Scriptures at some point. Therefore, it is crucial that you help them see those things in light of the gospel. As parents it is important that we continually dialogue with our children and use what they are reading to shepherd their hearts and communicate the gospel to them.

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I would like to have more guest posts in the future. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me HERE. Tell me what you would like to write about and why. I would love to have some different perspectives on here from time to time.

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