Starting at an early age, siblings are taught to embrace the concept of sharing—toys and snacks, their parents’ attention, possibly even the same bedroom. If you were to ask a five-year-old to define the term “sharing,” they may respond by alluding to a tangible object: “I share my doll with my sister,” for example, or “My brother shares blueberries with me.” It’s easy for children—and even adults—to sometimes overlook how sharing goes beyond the surface level . . . to share is to forge a connection, to strengthen a bond, to encourage memories to be made.
Here at Sol Book Box, we recognize that many of our subscribers are families with multiple young children of differing ages, and we thought it would be helpful to highlight the benefits of siblings reading together. So much magic and joy can ensue when siblings share their love of books with one another, even if they are in different developmental stages and, therefore, at different reading levels.
When an older sibling reads to a younger sibling, the older sibling gets to experience all the positive emotions that come from knowing that their sibling looks up to and admires them. These emotions can even contribute to a boost in their confidence, especially as it relates to their own reading skills.
Since younger siblings are inclined to look up to their older siblings, reading together allows for the younger sibling to feel empowered by being reminded that they, too, will someday learn how to read a book all by themselves.
Reading together will encourage your children to communicate with one another. While they read, they can give each other friendly commands (“Please turn the page”) as well as ask each other questions (“Why is the dinosaur blue?”) that pertain to the pages in front of them. Improving their communication with one another will be rewarding for their relationship, and improving their communication skills overall will serve them well in school, in sports, and elsewhere. They’ll learn the value of asking questions, expressing their opinions, and raising good points.
Siblings who read together improve their listening skills as well. Whether one sibling is reading the text or they are taking turns, reading together teaches siblings the importance of listening, focusing, and paying close attention to the words/sentences they are hearing.
When their parents are busy, siblings often look to each other for entertainment. Reading together gives siblings something fun to do and it also reinforces their bond. What a gift it is to realize that your sibling is not just a member of your household—your sibling is your playmate, your reading pal, your friend.
When children have a bad day, or a long day, they may feel down or overly tired. On days like these, there’s usually nothing more comforting than a family member’s voice, and when siblings read together, they’re capable of calming each other down and making each other feel not only relaxed, but also loved.
No matter the age difference between your children, they likely exhibit some notable differences in regards to their personalities and personal preferences. For these and other reasons, siblings sometimes bicker and fight. When they sit down and read together, however, they have the opportunity to establish common ground by realizing that they both enjoy a certain children’s book, and/or have developed a fondness toward certain authors in their collection. Once they come to this realization, they can appreciate knowing that they have some favorite children’s books in common—books that they can easily agree on when it’s time to pull books from their shelves.
As worthwhile as it is for children to establish common ground as discussed above, it’s also useful for them to learn to acknowledge and respect their differences. Say, for instance, that one of your children is intrigued by “everything sports,” and their sibling is enamored by “all things music.” They may not have the same interests right now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t acknowledge those differences in a meaningful way when they read together. Perhaps, for instance, they can read a sports-themed Spanish children’s book, followed by a music-themed children’s book, and then discuss what they both liked about the characters, illustrations, settings, etc. within each.
If you’re a parent who has spent a lot of time reading to your children, there’s a strong probability that your children will find it so refreshing to read with one another. The ever-forming bond between siblings is quite special, and the more time that siblings can spend together strengthening that bond, the better.
When siblings spend time together, they are given the opportunity to create memories that can potentially last a lifetime. As a parent, you can only hope that one day your children will look back upon their childhoods and remember special moments—like reading on the couch together—with fondness and gratitude.
Given all of these benefits, your friends here at Sol Book Box would like to kindly remind you to invite your children to read together as often as possible. Besides, it is heartwarming for parents to witness their children bonding—especially over a stack of excellent children’s books.
You may even want to take a moment to snap a photo of those sweet siblings with their noses in a book, their fingers pointing to characters they admire, their smiles reflecting how much they are truly enjoying one another’s company.