When I was in elementary, I spent hours hiding away in libraries, reading as much as I could before my parents made me leave. Looking back on my life, I can see how certain books shaped who I am today. Most people have at least one book that has profoundly influenced them. If reading has this much power, then learning to study literature is one of the most important parts of a child’s development. Reading is so much more than just understanding what words mean. It has the ability to shape children’s minds and experiences in positive ways.
We Study Literature for Joy
By reading beautifully crafted literature, children can learn to experience the wonder of God’s creation. Stories that use humor, clever metaphors, or lovely subjects are delightful to read. God created a beautiful and delightful world, and He desires that we find pleasure in it. Also, children can find joy in seeing how an author reflects the image of God through the creation of stories.
For Broader Experiences
Through literature, readers can travel across space and time. They can visit unique and distant places they might never visit otherwise. These experiences can ignite children’s imaginations. And as children gain knowledge of diverse people and places, they will learn to see beyond their own limited experience.
An important part of loving others is learning to understand and empathize with them. Literature allows us to enter the minds of people who think differently than we do. Stories allow readers to feel the emotions, difficulties, successes, and struggles of people who are not like them. You can help your children practice discernment through this process. By recognizing false teachings, children will be able to articulate their own beliefs more clearly.
For Bible Study
Literature study is especially useful for Christians, because the Bible is literature. It contains narrative, poetry, and drama as well as an abundance of literary elements, including metaphor, hyperbole, and irony. Learning to read literature well—such as understanding context or interpreting metaphors— equips children to better study and understand the Bible.
Reading literature can be one of the most important tools in shaping your child’s mind. Children have not fully formed their opinions and values, and they have not yet cemented their loves and hates. Good literature can influence your child’s heart to love good, to hate evil, and to embrace God’s truth.