Reading Matters


Reading Matters

By Dianne Wood

Dianne is happily married and the mother of 8 children. She is currently home full time. She writes for a few magazines, is working on a book and runs a girls club. Dianne holds a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. She has kindly given permission to reprint this article.

Storytelling is the most powerful form of human communication. Originally stories were passed down through storytelling before writing was developed. Before radio and TV, storytelling was the way parents taught right and wrong to their children.

The Harry Potter Phenomenon shows that children crave a good story. Our children want to know about the unknown and they want it in the form of a good story. Rather than lecturing our children on right and wrong, reading good stories to them works much better.

Before our children become addicted to the TV and Internet, we need to teach them right and wrong. Otherwise, they are going to be exposed to so many different points of views and will be confused. By choosing properly developed stories to read out loud to our children we can lay the groundwork for a properly formed conscience. Books filled with great characters and battles between good and evil can help us accomplish this task.

Ancient hero tales, nursery stories, riddle-songs, legends, and myths were developed to help parents fulfill their duty as primary educators of their children. There are countless tales from hundreds of races and language groups, many dating back thousands of years. In most cases, in these stories good is good, and evil is evil.

In the classical fairy tale, good always wins in the end, and evil is punished. As a consequence, the child has a sense of the importance of character and a develops a proper understanding of his or her place in the world. In the modern fairy tale, though, often the nature of good and evil has been redefined, and it is common for heroes to use evil to defeat evil. So we must choose our stories carefully.

As parents, we must remember that culture is learned at home not at school. There is little time to give intellectual culture to our children, we must make the most of this little time. The family habit of reading aloud must be a priority to all parents. Gathering around the TV just does not do it. We must leave these books around our home and encourage the children to read the stories over and over and become intimate with the characters so that the characters become their teachers.

Ideas entering our minds leave an impression that is not always easy to obliterate so we must be careful of the books our children are reading. We must be on top of their reading, and maybe we will even have to read the book ourselves so we can carry on a conversation with them about their books.

It is never too late to start reading to your children. Pull out the old fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm all available free at the Library. Read to your children stories of good versus evil before the TV violence takes away their appetite. Be the primary educator of your children and help them in their understanding of life.

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