Helping children develop a love for reading is on the top of every parent’s agenda of childhood goals. We are constantly reminded that reading can help children achieve greater success academically and socially, giving them a boost in life, in general. We’ve already spoken about how to get your child to love reading and today we’ll talk about the impact and benefits reading has on children.
It’s never too early to introduce reading to your child. Every child who is an avid reader was first a good listener. This reiterates the fact that reading to children is as important as making them readers is. So introduce your child to reading much before they can read themselves because this forms a positive association with books. You can start reading to babies from day one and read on to find out why. You can also look at our recommendations on books to read to your toddler.
All parents are all too familiar with the barrage of “Why” questions that toddlers constantly present. Young children are naturally imaginative and there is no limit to their imagination and curiosity. Reading to your child opens wide the doors to imagination, where children can visualize places, time and people beyond their reality and own experiences. Ever wondered why the book was always better than the movie? Because when you read the book, you’re doing all the imagination and picturing the characters to make them realistic. This is exactly how a book can spark your child’s imagination.
Children have an innate ability to learn language and speech. Language development is rapid in the first 3 years of life and there is an intensive acquisition of speech and vocabulary during this period. Regularly reading to your child, starting in infancy can help your child develop speech, communication, social and literacy skills. it can help build the key language and listening skills that are necessary for speech and communication. Your child will also be introduced to new words and phrases that they can learn and use in context as they learn to speak.
Reading to your child introduces them to different experiences and situations. This can help them develop thinking skills, problem-solving and memory all of which help them understand their world better. Storytelling can be a powerful tool in making children understand and make sense of the world, process information and help them perceive situations around them. Reading to children also helps develop the ability to think and builds the foundation of thought processes.
Reading to your child, from early infancy provides children with an early introduction to phonemic awareness, phonetic skills, vocabulary and reading comprehension all of which are pre-reading skills that set a solid foundation for reading skills. In time, these skills help children develop fluency in oral reading.
Connecting with your child is important to forming a deep and meaningful relationship with them. Reading to your child one on one, on a daily basis, with no interruptions or distractions can help you bond with your child. When reading to your child is made a part of their routine or bedtime routine, it becomes an enjoyable tradition that children look forward to with eagerness. With all the other benefits of reading, this also ensures you spend quality time with your child, with a shared activity that both can look forward to on a daily basis. With practice and experience you will begin to identify your child’s favourite books or characters, and including these in your reading time gives your child a sense of intimacy, attention and affection.
Reading to children provides them with better reading skills and a love for reading, improves concentration and listening skills, builds vocabulary and language skills while teaching them about the world around them. These skills comprehensively improve academic success and their performance in school, not only in language but all subjects.
Reading to children can help them imagine different situations and perspectives. It helps children explore and understand real-life situations. They also learn what one can do in everyday situations, how to cope with difficult experiences and how to deal with certain stressors, like visiting a dentist, moving homes, losing a pet, being kind etc. This can help children build empathy and social and emotional skills.
It’s never too early to start reading to your child and your child is never too old to be read to. You can continue reading to your child long after they can read, as this can help you bond with your child and help them reap the benefits of being read to. It is the best gift you can give your child; the gift of reading.