Everybody loves a good story — including babies. Long before the first day of school, the shared experience of reading together strengthens the bond between parent and child, and creates a positive association with language and learning. Susan Straub, Director of the Read to Me Program (a literacy non-profit encouraging young families to read together) said that in addition to the, “Enormous pleasure of sharing books with your baby, if you want to have a successful elementary school child, read, read, read to him, early and often.” Ms. Straub described how early comfort with books gives children a boost with literacy that will carry them through their school years. Research into the impact that this has on the grades of high school students is ongoing.

Bedtime stories were an important part of my childhood. My dad read aloud to us every night. I have wonderful memories of ‘The Secret Garden,’ ‘The Phantom Toll Booth’ and many other children’s classics. When we were older and traveled as a family — long before handheld electronic games and movies on tablets — he read aloud again. I remember enjoying Jack Finney’s ‘Time and Again’ on family trip to Switzerland.

I definitely credit my dad’s bedtime stories with my continued love of books and learning. I also think that those children’s classics inspired me to become a writer. Books, stories, storytelling and the shared cultural experience of literature, are critically important to us all.

Candy Korman is a freelance writer in New York and the author of the Candy’s Monsters series of ebooks: www.candysmonsters.com. For more information about the Read to Me Program: www.readtomeprogram.org