The importance of reading to children cannot be underestimated. Reading plays a very important role in a child’s development because it awakens the senses, develops the imagination and stimulates the brain. If you’re are regular reader of this blog, you’ll notice that it’s a subject that I’m really passionate about!
As parents, our task is to encourage them to read by making reading a pleasurable and rewarding experience for them. Reading for at least ten minutes a day helps the growth of children and teenagers, whether it’s adventure novels, youth magazines, detective stories, comic books or documentaries.
There are so many benefits of reading children’s story books, that I would say of all activities you could be doing with your children, reading would have to be rated as the most important.
What Are The Benefits of Reading To Kids?
- A bonding activity – nothing like snuggling up with a child for a story!
- Reading to children plays a huge role in language development, suck as increasing vocabulary, or even learning a second language
- Reading to kids, helps develops creative thinking – children have to imagine the story. How many of you have been disappointed by the film version of a favorite story?
- Critical thinking is developed through reading to children – giving children a wide exposure to both fiction and non-fiction gives them a wider range of opinions and ideas
- Communication skills are improved with reading, you can discuss ideas or the concepts raised in the story
You can introduce ideas, values or learning stages from reading to children, ranging from potty training, thru to conflict resolution
- Research shows children who were read to at an early age, and have wide access to books are less likely to take drugs, drop out of school, or get in trouble in their teenage years.
- Reading to Children also contributes to written language skills, including sentence construction, creative writing, and report writing
Convinced about the importance of reading to children?
The Book Zone Home
What can you do to make your home a book zone? How do you encourage kids to read and develop a love of books?
- Read out loud anything and everything with words on it!
- Ask for books or book vouchers as presents when your baby is born. My Grand-daughter ended up with 12 Teddy bears. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to get 12 children’s story books? Not just baby books, either, but get some of the classics like A.A. Milne’s, Winnie The Poo (the real one, not the disneyfied versions!)
- Leave books in your baby’s cot for the morning. You might just get an extra 1/2 hours sleep!
- Use the local library, start when they are tiny, so they are very familiar with borrowing books. Let them choose their own books
- Libraries often have read out loud sessions or meet the author, who will read and promote their latest book
- Bring books to life, by using funny voices or acting out the story
- Let older children read in bed for a while after bedtime
- Make sure they see you reading, don’t just read in bed at night
- Have a snuggle corner or chair in a quiet, well lit place in the house where kids are encouraged to curl up with a book. We have a huge old chair that was my Grandmas. My daughter used to love curling up in it with a book.
- Make sure each child has their own collection of books, maybe their own shelf on the family bookcase
- Read lots and lots (and lots!!) of children’s story books – and not just while they are young. The last book I read to my children was Lord of the Rings, when they were 12 and 13 years.
- Extend the story by turning it into a play
- Have the children draw pictures about the story you are reading
When To Start Reading To Children?
Don’t wait until they are old enough to manage books, start reading to your baby from day one! It doesn’t matter what you read, read out loud the magazine you are flicking through, the recipe books or TV guide. The earlier you introduce language and reading the better.
What Should You Read To Children?
Reading to children is not just about sitting reading children’s story books. You are giving children a much bigger exposure to language and reading if you read and talk about a wide variety of texts.
Some Ideas For Reading To Children
- Toddler and her Brother Reading
- Recipe Books
- Food Packets
- Shopping Lists
- Junk Mail
- The Internet
- Road Signs or Billboards
- Tourist Information
- Field Guides, like bird books
- Indexes in Gardening Books, or Cookbooks
Bed Time Stories
Did you know, reading to children in bed can have a hypnotic effect! What a great time to introduce inspirational stories, to set the scene for the next day by reading children’s story books about overcoming a challenge!
Reading to Children = Learning to Read
Of course the biggest value in reading to children is you are teaching them to read. Even from an early age, children will pick up words and begin to understand some of the more complex language. The more you read to them, the more they understand and expand their vocabulary, and develop a love of reading.