The importance of reading cannot be emphasized enough in young children, and we as parents need to make every day reading a high priority.
Many studies show that toddlers and pre-schoolers who are read to every day have a larger vocabulary than those who aren’t reading at all. It turns out that reading there are many advantages and benefits of reading.
Not only does reading enhances a child’s vocabulary but also helps them understand how to read and write, but reading aloud to children also helps them to understand different topics about the world and every-day life.
Reading is one more important activity for preparing your child to succeed as a reader than reading aloud together. Fill your story times with a variety of books. Be consistent, be patient, and watch the magic work.
- Start young and stay with it
At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages. Guide your child by pointing to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating the words with pictures and the real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language.
Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk. Even after children learn to read by them, it’s still important for you to read aloud together. By reading stories that are on their interest level, but beyond their reading level, you can stretch young readers’ understanding and motivate them to improve their skills.
- It’s part of life
Although the life of a parent is often hectic, you should try to read with your child at least once a day at a regularly scheduled time. But don’t be discouraged if you skip a day or don’t always keep to your schedule. Just read to your child as often as you possibly can.
If you have more than one child, try to spend some time reading alone with each child, especially if they’re more than 2 years apart. However, it’s also fine to read to children at different stages and ages at the same time. Most children enjoy listening to many types of stories. When stories are complex, children can still get the idea and can be encouraged to ask questions. When stories are easy or familiar, youngsters enjoy these “old friends” and may even help in the reading.
Taking the time to read with your children on a regular basis sends an important message: Reading is worthwhile.
- One more time
You may go through a period when your child favors one book and wants it read night after night. It is not unusual for children to favor a particular story, and this can be boring for parents. Keep in mind, however, that a favorite story may speak to your child’s interests or emotional needs. Be patient. Continue to expose your children to a wealth of books and eventually they will be ready for more stories.
- Talking about stories
It’s often a good idea to talk about a story you are reading, but you need not feel compelled to talk about every story. Good stories will encourage a love for reading, with or without conversation. And sometimes children need time to think about stories they have read. A day or so later, don’t be surprised if your child mentions something from a story you’ve read together.
- Remember when you were very young
It will help, however, if we open our eyes to some things adult readers tend to take for granted. It’s easier to be patient when we remember how much children do not know. Here are a few concepts we adults know so well we forget sometimes we ever learned them.
- There’s a difference between words and pictures. Point to the print as you read aloud.
- Words on a page have meaning, and that is what we learn to read.
- Words go across the page from left to right. Follow with your finger as you read.
- Words on a page are made up of letters and are separated by a space.
- Each letter has at least two forms: one for capital letters and one for small letters.
Imagine how you would feel if you were trying to interpret a book full of such symbols. That’s how young readers feel. But, a little patience (maybe by turning it into a puzzle you can solve together) is certain to build confidence.
- Advertise the joy of reading!
Our goal is to motivate children to want to read so they will practice reading independently and, thus, become fluent readers. That happens when children enjoy reading. We parents can do for reading what fast food chains do for hamburgers? ADVERTISE! And we advertise by reading great stories and poems to children.
We can help our children find the tools they need to succeed in life. Having access to information through the printed word is an absolute necessity. Knowledge is power, and books are full of it. But reading is more than just a practical tool. Through books we can enrich our minds; we can also relax and enjoy some precious leisure moments.
With your help, your children can begin a lifelong relationship with the printed word, so they grow into adults who read easily and frequently whether for business, knowledge, or pleasure.
Below are some benefits and advantages that highlight the importance of reading with kids.
- Reading to young children sets them up to succeed:
The more you read to your children, the more knowledge they absorb, and knowledge is important in all aspects of life. There have many studies that show reading to babies and toddlers gives them a head start and helps to prepare them for school later down the line. After all, reading with your children gives them the skills needed for when they start to read themselves.
It is important that children learn to follow words across the page from left to right, and turn pages which are pre-reading skills that benefit children and help them to become better readers later on. Children who enjoy reading not only do better in language and literacy subjects, but in all of the different subjects as well.
- Reading is important to develop language skills
While you may speak with your children every day, the vocabulary you use is often limited and repetitive. Reading books ensures that your child is exposed to vocabulary on different topics, which means they hear words or phrases which they may not hear otherwise in their day to day lives.
The more words they know the better. For children who speak more than one language, reading is an easy way to help their language skills and is important to develop their fluency. These skills alone show the importance of reading.
- Exposure to reading exercises your child’s brain
Reading to young children affects their brain activity and may just give them that boost they need to support and promote their early reading skills.
Research shows that specific areas of the brain are affected when young children have reading exposure at home from an early age. These areas are critical for a child’s language development.
- Reading enhances a child’s concentration
While you may think it is useless reading to a toddler who wants to constantly turn pages, swap books, or throw them around altogether, reading with your little one is extremely important at this age.
By consistently reading to your child every day, your child will learn to concentrate and sit still for longer periods of time, which can help later on when they go to school.
- Reading together encourages a thirst for knowledge
Reading to your children leads to questions about the book and the information within. It gives you a chance to speak about what is happening and use this as a learning experience. It may also develop an interest in different cultures or languages. There is nothing better seeing a child who loves to learn.
- A range of books teaches children about different topics
Don’t underestimate the importance of reading diverse books. Providing your child with different types of books on different topics, or even in different languages for bilingual kids, gives them a wide range of information for them to learn.
There are informative books on topics such as different animals, places or objects etc, and there are also different books to help teach children about important life skills such as sharing, being kind, and diversity. There are also some amazing personalized books which make great gifts!
- Reading develops a child’s imagination and creativity
One of the great benefits of reading with children is watching their growing imagination. When we really engage in a book we imagine what the characters are doing. We imagine the setting as reality.
Seeing the excitement on a child’s eyes when they know what is going to be on the next page, or having them guess what is going to happen is one of the most amazing things to experience.
- Reading books with children helps to develop empathy
When a child can put himself into the story it helps them to develop empathy. They identify with characters, and they feel what they are feeling. Children begin to understand and relate to emotions.
- Books are a form of entertainment
With so much technology these days, it is difficult not to get caught up in all the hype of it all. TV, Video games, smart phones and apps are popular among children. However, reading a good book that your child is interested in can be just as entertaining.
With all of the negative effects of screen time, choosing a book that interests your child, and either reading it together, or letting them flick through pages alone, is definitely a better option.
One of the main benefits that highlights the importance of reading with babies and toddlers, is that they are more likely to choose a book to read for pleasure over another activity when they are bored.
- Reading together helps to create a bond
There’s nothing better than cuddling up to your little one and reading a book or a bedtime story together. Spending time with one another, reading, and talking, can bring parents closer to your children.
For parents who work, or have a busy lifestyle, relaxing with your child and simply enjoying each other’s company while reading can be a great way for you both to wind down, relax, and bond.