What Are The Benefits Of Reading To Your Child?
Reading to your child is one of the best things you can do to encourage their development. Research has proven that reading has a great deal of benefits for young children – it promotes their cognitive function, improves their literacy and language skills, teaches them empathy and emotion, and exposes them to new experiences and ideas.
At Endeavour Early Education we are passionate about ensuring that all children are introduced to reading, and this is why we foster a positive attitude towards reading and storytelling at our day care centre.
See below to find out more about the importance of reading to your child and why you should encourage reading in your own home.
Reading strengthens the brain
Reading is incredibly beneficial to children as it can promote their cognitive development and activate their narrative comprehension and mental imagery. Whether a child is reading independently or being read to by a parent, guardian or teacher, it requires concentration, attention and focus. The more exposure a child has to books and stories, the more their brain will be stimulated, and the stronger it will be in all areas.
It improves language skills and vocabulary
Unsurprisingly, reading greatly improves a child’s linguistic ability. This is because reading exposes them to sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and narrative arc. Even very young children will subconsciously begin to absorb new words and their meanings, and how certain words are used in certain scenarios to evoke certain emotions.
Most children can read by age 6 or 7, while some others can read by the age of 4 or 5. The earlier a child is introduced to reading and to stories, the more advanced their language skills and vocabulary will be, and the sooner they will able to read independently.
It promotes imagination and creativity
Storytelling is a fantastic way to develop a child’s imagination, spark their curiosity and encourage them to think creatively. This is because when we are told a story, our brain turns words and descriptions about people, places and things into imagery. The more we are told about things we do not yet know or understand, the harder the brain must work to create those pictures. Reading and stories also encourage playfulness, which is a crucial element of early childhood development, and of life.
Reading improves social skills and an awareness of the world
Stories open us up to the world around us. It is believed that storytelling is the key to evolution, and that sharing experiences and knowledge is what makes us fundamentally human.
Children learn empathy through storytelling, as they can begin to imagine how it feels to be in the shoes of the characters of the story. It is therefore greatly beneficial for young children to read and hear about people, places, experiences and cultures outside of what they already know, as it will broaden their world view and, ultimately, ensure they grow into a kind, considerate and compassionate adult.
It will improve school readiness
Children who are frequently read to will perform better in school, compared to children who aren’t. This is because good readers tend to have better listening and concentration skills, which means they gain more quality learning in a classroom setting. Good readers also have better literacy and mathematical ability, meaning their overall performance across all subjects in a school curriculum will be of higher standard.
Additionally, the more children read, the better they will be at it, and this will be hugely beneficial throughout their school years and beyond.
Reading is a fun and great way to bond with your child
There is no better way to bond with your child than to read to them every day. Many of us have fond childhood memories of being read to – it was a time where we could have quality one-on-one time with our parents, teachers or guardians.
The great thing about reading is that you can do it almost anywhere, at any time – before bedtime, on the sofa, on the train, during bath time, in school, in the library, etc. And with eBooks now accessible and inexpensive, it is easier than ever before to carry around all of your child’s favourite stories.
It is advised to read to your child once a day to aid their overall development and, most importantly, create a special bond with them.
Give your child a head start in life by reading to them when they are just a few months old. Between 3-6 months old, a baby will enjoy looking at pictures and listening to sounds and rhythms, so you should introduce them to interactive picture books and sing nursery rhymes to them. Doing so will accelerate the speed at which they learn early literacy skills and become familiar with words, language and sounds.
What books should you allow your child to read?
Children’s books aren’t trivial, as many people assume. In fact, the majority of great literature written for children deals with fundamental and profound ideas, such as “good vs bad”, and “where do we come from?”
The nature of these very ultimate and deep questions that are often dealt with in children’s books means that sometimes stories can be perceived as “frightening” or “unsuitable” for young minds. As a parent, you may think that you should protect your child from stories or narratives that may upset them, but actually you shouldn’t be so concerned.
It is the function of literature to introduce children to the unknown, and the earlier they wrestle with the unknown, the better equipped they will be for adult life. If a child isn’t having their nightmares at 6-years-old, for example, they will not be prepared for the ugly truths that they will inevitably come across in their adult life.
As long as your child is reading stories that have been explicitly written for children of their age and that you deem appropriate, you should consider the messages within the stories to be doing them a favor.
The benefits of reading to your child are vast. It promotes brain development, social and language skills, imagination and understanding of the world. It also strengthens the relationship between you and your child.
At Endeavour Early Education we are passionate about giving your child the gift of literature and the best opportunity for a bright future. This is why we read to our children every day and encourage their love for storytelling.