It’s undeniable that a child’s reading skills are important to their success in school, work, and life in general. And it is very possible to help ensure your child’s success by reading to them starting at a very early age. Here are some of the top reasons that reading to your children is beneficial to them in the long run.
Cognitive development is the emergence of the ability to think and understand; according to Health of Children.com it’s, “the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.”
Consider this excerpt from a study on toddlers’ cognitive development as a result of being read aloud to:
“A child care provider reads to a toddler. And in a matter of seconds, thousands of cells in these children’s growing brains respond. Some brain cells are ‘turned on,’ triggered by this particular experience. Many existing connections among brain cells are strengthened. At the same time, new brain cells are formed, adding a bit more definition and complexity to the intricate circuitry that will remain largely in place for the rest of these children’s lives.”
Improves Language Skills
Reading daily to young children, starting in infancy, can help with language acquisition and literacy skills. This is because reading to your children in the earliest months stimulates the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language and helps build key language, literacy and social skills.
In fact, a recent brain scan study found that “reading at home with children from an early age was strongly correlated with brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language” (TIME.com)
This is especially important when you consider that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than one in three American children start
kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read. About two-thirds of children can’t read proficiently by the end of the third grade.
Prepare for academic success
Reading to your child is a true one-on-one opportunity for children to communicate with their parents and parents to communicate with their children.
Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well when they reach their period of formal education. According to a study completed by the University of Michigan, there are five early reading skills that are essential for development. They are:
- Phonemic awareness – Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds in spoken words.
- Phonics – Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.
- Vocabulary – The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.
- Reading comprehension – Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.
- Fluency (oral reading) – Being able to read text accurately and quickly.
A special bond with your child
It goes without saying that reading to your child on a regular basis can help you forge a stronger relationship with them. When it comes to children, one of the most important things you can do to positively influence their development is spend time with them. Reading to your children provides a great opportunity to set up a regular, shared event where you can look forward to spending time together, and your child will trust and expect that you will be there for them. The importance of trust to small children cannot be overstated.
Increased concentration and discipline
Introducing regular reading time into your child’s schedule has another benefit outside of creating shared time together: increased discipline and concentration. Very young children rarely sit still for long, and it’s often times difficult to get them to focus. But when you introduce regular reading to your children, you may start to observe a change in behavior. Toddlers may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but eventually they’ll learn to stay put for the duration of the book.
Improved imagination and creativity
Young children naturally have a capacity to dream big and use their imaginations. Reading aloud to your child helps them use their imaginations to explore people, places, times, and events beyond their own experiences. Reading as an imaginative activity can open doors to all kinds of new worlds for your child.
Cultivate a lifelong love of reading
Reading is the key for lifelong learning, and if you can instill a love of reading at an early age, then a commitment to lifelong learning is sure to follow. Reading aloud presents books as sources of pleasant, valuable, and exciting experiences. Children who value books are motivated to read on their own, and will likely continue to do so throughout the rest of their lives.
When it comes to reading to your children, the benefits range far beyond the development of a close bond with them, although that’s certainly one of them. Reading aloud to children is truly the single-most important activity for building these understanding and skills essential for reading success that your child will carry with them all throughout their life.