Importance of Reading to Children

The Importance of Reading to Children

Stories help to stimulate a child’s development in multiple ways and reading to children is one of the best ways to share stories. Simply taking the time to share books with children helps to encourage curiosity and a love of books and stories.

6 key benefits of reading with your child

Reading stories with children can deliver some key long-term benefits which include the following 6 factors.

1. Helps to improve language skills

Reading to children from an early age will help them to develop language comprehension and vocabulary as well as build confidence in social skills, and improve literacy. The importance of reading to children from an early age is that it helps stimulate those parts of the brain that aid the understanding of language.

Developing these cognitive and critical thinking skills is critical when you consider recent data from the US-based Academy of Pediatrics, stating that two-thirds of American children in the third grade are not proficient readers.

Additionally, when a child hears the language consistently coming from story books their vocabulary will broaden as many words used in storytelling are not consistently used in everyday language. Book language be it in a children’s storybook or children’s novel tends to be more descriptive as well as adhering to proper grammatical structure.

2. Helps with cognitive development

Young children’s cognitive skills are known to develop when they are regularly read to and encouraged to read books.  Cognitive development is the term given to the development of the mind’s ability to think and understand. Such abilities include such complex processes as constructing thought processes, memory, problem-solving, and decision-making,

The importance of reading to children aloud is that it furnishes the child with background knowledge about their world, helping them to understand their environment. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the discussion that surrounds reading to children is every bit as important as the reading itself. Discussion fills in the blanks between the story and their own lives

The more that children experience the joy of being read to, the more likely it is that their vocabularies will grow and the more that they will be able to understand the world and how they fit in it. This growth of vocabulary and comprehension helps with cognitive development and perception.

3. Helps build a closer bond with your child

The importance of reading to children is self-evident as regular reading sessions will help to build deeper relationships with children. Making regular reading sessions an event helps to build up an enjoyable event that can be shared and looked forward to.   This activity will help to build trust with children and an expectation that you can be relied upon to be there for them.

Children reading their favourite book with you helps with bonding and feelings of well-being and intimacy.  All of these emotions help to build self-esteem and feelings of love.

Even with very young babies, the practice of reading to them helps to build reassurance and develops a nurturing environment even though they may not be able to understand the words. . Familiar voices build feelings of security and warmth. Reading makes the perfect vehicle to establish to create this connection.

Reading aloud to your child regularly gives them something they can look forward to and rely upon and talk about. This involvement helps to develop reading and writing skills and importantly can encourage a love of reading.

4. Enhances Imagination & Creativity

A young child naturally wants to dream of big achievements and their imaginations are waiting to be stimulated and used. Encouraging children to read, firstly by reading aloud to them helps to fire their imagination and become curious about things and people discussed within the book. The very act of reading helps to stimulate the imagination and it can be the gateway to all types of new worlds. As the child’s imagination and world broaden, the child becomes more creative and is likely to dream bigger. This increased creative capacity naturally leads to future benefits in school, work and future life.

5. Helps improve the likelihood of Academic Success

The importance of reading to children early should not be overstated as it provides an invaluable opportunity for children and parents to communicate on a one-to-one basis. This regular interaction helps the child to improve their vocabulary and listening abilities- skills that are vital for long-term academic success.

There are numerous studies that have demonstrated a correlation between the number of words that a child is exposed to and the number of words that they learn and use. The greater their vocabulary is, the more prepared they are for the transition into kindergarten initially and then primary school. This preparation makes reading easier and good reading skills will lead to greater academic achievement as they progress through their years of education.

There are five key early reading skills that lay the foundations for future learning development. All of these skills can be enhanced by reading to children. The five skills are

  1. The ability to hear, identify and play with specific sounds in the spoken word. This is called phonemic awareness.
  2. The ability to make the connection of letters in written language with spoken language sounds. This is called phonics.
  3. The extent of their vocabulary which helps them to communicate effectively.
  4. Being able to comprehend what has been read.
  5. The ability to be able to quickly and accurately read text. This is sometimes referred to as fluency.

Reading to children in their early preschool years will help to give them a head start on developing their literacy skills prior to reaching primary school.

While reading won’t necessarily prepare the pre-schooler for fluency or phonics it will create phonemic awareness, grow vocabulary and increase reading comprehension, setting them up for success as they move into a wider world.

6. Increased Concentration

Another aspect to consider when assessing why books are important for a child’s development is that “storytime” aids in improving a child’s ability to concentrate.  Most young infants find it difficult to sit still for any length of time and it can be difficult to get them to focus on anything for any amount of time. That’s where reading can play a part. When regular reading sessions are introduce, you will find that the child will tend to be restless during the first few periods, but as teh round becomes established, you will find that they become more attentive and focussed until such time as they willingly pay full attention to the whole story

Are there any additional benefits to children reading?

Establishing a regular reading routine will help to build a sense of pleasure and wonder in the child. Regular reading sessions build a love of books and reading that can be carried throughout life. A  lifelong love of reading is going to make learning much easier. Reading s the gateway to enhanced learning opportunities and greater knowledge, building a love of books and reading is one of the greatest gifts that can be given to a child. Furthermore reading can help the child to build a sense of empathy and improve social skills.