We probably don’t need to review the many success stories to understand the benefits of reading. Biographies of great Christians not only inspire but also instruct; and focused reading of Puritan works yields both rich devotional benefit and an increased understanding of God’s Word. Reading in general improves writing and thinking skills, expands memory and vocabulary, and reduces stress and teaches empathy. If you’re like me, you were probably thinking about those benefits of silent reading—but they are also benefits of reading aloud to children. The first children I think of are preschool and elementary children. However, read-aloud benefits extend to pre-adolescents and adolescents. The image of the family sitting around the living room listening to the father read is not a quaint image from yesteryear; studies demonstrate that it is a modern picture of intellectually progressing children and teens.
What about it? Why not have a reading contest in your home this summer? Reading and talking about classics like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Screwtape Letters; mysteries like The Hardy Boys or Sherlock Holmes; well-written biographies about such men as Adoniram Judson, Martin Luther, or William Carey; and exciting retellings of great Christian literature such as The War for Mansoul, a modern styling of Bunyan’s The Holy War—what a summer! Why not make some extra-special memories this summer adventuring together in family read-aloud time? Reading is what summer could mean for your family too!