When it comes to reading, the earlier you can start with your child, the better. Reading books to your little one is not only fun, but it also is important for growing developmental skills. By reading to your child, you reinforce basic sounds, encourage language acquisition, teach your child about enunciation and more. Why is this so important? What are the benefits of reading to your child as part of your daily routine?
To help answer these questions, here’s a look at the importance of regularly reading with your child:
It lays a positive foundation about reading. Start reading to and with your child early, and you teach your child that reading is a fun experience. This lays a foundation that can be built upon well into adulthood. Your child develops a positive attitude about reading and is pushed toward, rather than away from, learning.
It bonds you and your child. Reading is a great way to spend quality time with your child, as the two of you snuggle together to focus on a good story. By doing this regularly, you create special times with your little one.
It teaches your child the basics of how reading works. Some aspects of reading are so basic, you might not even think about them as you read. Nonetheless, as you repeatedly read to your child, you let him or her know that books are read left to right, page by page. You communicate that words on the page represent sounds and ideas.
It grows language skills. The more books you read with your child, the more words he or she learns — words that might not always come up in everyday life. The more words your child hears, the more his or her vocabulary grows. Ultimately, helping to develop fluency in language.
It builds longer attention spans. Children who develop the ability to sit and listen to a book being read are children who are growing their concentration skills. As they grow in attention spans, they develop skills that serve them in future learning.
It provides security. So much of childhood involves new experiences and activities. Parents can reduce their children’s anxiety levels and give them confidence to step into the unknown by preparing them with books. Reading a book about potty training or going to school, for example, can show a child that a new experience isn’t something to fear.
It builds brain networks. Reading to your child can activate brain networks that integrate sounds and sights. Stimulating these parts of the brain is like opening pathways that can serve your child well in the transition from talking to reading.
It’s good prep for school. Reading to children helps prepare them for school. That’s because reading to your child increases his or her vocabulary, language skills and concentration — all of which are important in the academic environment.
It encourages empathy. Listening to stories is a powerful tool for building empathy. As a child imagines someone else’s perspective, he or she is learning how to identify with others and relate to what they feel.
It’s fun. Everyone enjoys a little entertainment, and reading makes it possible to enjoy a good story without simply consuming it from a screen. One of the biggest benefits of books is how they offer windows into other worlds and adventures — away from television, video games or smartphones.
Whether you have infants, toddlers or kids who are school-age, it’s never too early or late to start reading with your kids. Expose your children often and early to books, and you lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning and literature. Fill your home with lots of books and encourage your kids to read them — both out loud with you and flipping through them on their own. Along the way, important skills and habits will be developing, which can serve your kids well throughout their lives.
About the Author: Lisa Orlando is Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Early Intervention at Invo Progressus, a provider of employment and professional development for therapists. The company connects qualified candidates with job opportunities across the United States.