The Benefits of Reading to Your Child
Reading to your child has benefits that will last a lifetime. Children gain many skills from listening to stories, and reading is also a great bonding experience. Books are a wonderful way to inspire your child’s imagination, grow their vocabulary, and increase their lifetime love of reading. Even babies and toddlers will benefit from listening to books. Eventually children can begin to repeat the words to their favorite stories, this is the beginning of learning to read on their own.
Reading enhances your child’s brain and cognitive development. A child’s brain absorbs what they see and hear, so reading books or even looking at books together and talking about the pictures can help your child. The language children can acquire from listening to books being read is an important benefit. Most children even at the toddler age will look at books and can begin to recall the events from familiar stories. You can often hear them “reading” to themselves while they look at a book. Teach your child early on how to handle books and help them develop their own love for reading.
Reading can become a whole family bonding experience. Older siblings can read to younger siblings and this creates a bonding experience for them as well
as when an adult is reading to them. Make your reading time interactive, ask questions as you read. For example, “look at the cover what do you think this book will be about?”, or” what does this picture tell you about the story?” “Who are the characters?” “What is your favorite part and why?” These questions help your child’s vocabulary, and brain development overall. According to an article on the importance of reading to your child, “reading to young children is proven to improve cognitive skills and help along the process of cognitive development.”
Reading also helps with academic skills, such as vocabulary, phonics skills, sight words, and comprehension. It is especially helpful when you are reading aloud and asking questions to help your child make connections from the story to their own world. These connections help with all aspects of the learning process. It is never too early to begin reading to your child and setting a routine of daily book time. An easy way to promote the love of books is to create a “book corner” by simply placing some books in a small bin or basket that is easily accessible to your child. You can even add some soft pillows, a blanket, and some favorite stuffed animals to make it cozy and inviting.
At every age and stage there are books and ways to help your child benefit and meet their specific developmental needs. You would not read the same type of book to an infant that you would a young elementary aged child. Books are designed with your child’s development in mind. For example, books specifically made for babies may only have pictures. You can add the words or look at the pictures with your baby. As your child grows there are books that adapt to their needs. Books for preschoolers will likely have a good number of words and pictures to increase their ever-growing vocabulary and curiosity. Look for books that meet your child’s needs, starting with their age and stage of development. Board books are great for toddlers because they are sturdy, but preschoolers are old enough to handle regular picture books.
Overall, reading to your child holds benefits that will help them throughout their lifetime. Inspiring a young child through exposing them to books and literature increases their learning potential. Through the connection of reading together you are providing bonding and learning moments that will help your child’s development and create lasting memories.