Benefits of Reading to Children
Reading is a very important part of the human dynamic. Through it, we not only learn how to communicate and gain knowledge, but we also benefit from the skill in so many other ways too. And it all starts when we are kids. These days, teaching children how to read is a standard process in educational systems around the world and some kids have perfected the skill before they have even started school. But the simple act of reading out loud to children can also have many benefits. The significance of reading cannot be given enough emphasis when it comes to young children and we as parents, teachers and caregivers need to make reading an everyday occurrence.
Below are 10 benefits and advantages that highlight the importance of reading to kids. We hope you consider them and are inspired to read more!
1. It Helps to Set Children Up for Success
Reading out loud to children should start the moment that children are born. This is a beautiful way for new-born babies to familiarise themselves with your voice and as they get older they will observe you as you read by moving your eyes from left to right while you use your mouth and voice to verbally communicate what is written. This is a child’s very first introduction into what reading is all about.
Children learn by example and by watching and listening to us while we read, they are learning the basics of the skill themselves. This is thus a wonderful way to instill the underlying necessities of learning how to read themselves before they even reach school-going age. With a foundation like this already in place, kids are more likely to be better equipped to learn and are more likely to succeed in school.
2. It’s an Excellent Way to Develop Language Skills
To learn new words, we need to hear them first. While we talk to our children often, the vocabulary we use is usually limited to our environments and tend to be somewhat repetitive. Reading out loud, however, is an excellent way to introduce new words and concepts to kids and in this way, they are exposed to a whole new vocabulary as well as language usage.
The more words our young ones know, the better. An extended vocabulary not only helps us to discover new things and build on to a variety of subjects, but it also helps us to express ourselves better and more accurately.
3. It Exercises Your Young Child’s Brain
When we read to kids we niggle at their brains. They are not only hearing words but they are forming different ideas in their minds – concepts that they might not have been aware of before.
Research shows that reading to young ones stimulates their brain activity and really gets their thought patterns moving. The more we can encourage our children to think for themselves and form opinions, the better we are preparing them for life in general. So, reading aloud not only helps to develop critical language skills, but it teaches life skills too.
4. Reading Enhances A Child’s Concentration
Don’t be surprised if all your toddler wants to do is cause havoc with the books you are trying to read. It’s normal for very young kids to not sit still and show more interest in flipping through pages, bending book spines or tossing toys around instead of solely focusing on what you are saying. Toddlers were not made to sit still! This does not mean that you should give up reading to them altogether, however. Concentration is just another skill that needs to be learned.
By consistently reading to your child every day, even just for a few minutes at a time, your little ones will eventually learn how to concentrate and sit still for longer periods of time. And while you might think that your children are not listening to you while you read, you might be surprised at how much they are actually absorbing while they are playing at the same time.
5. Reading Out Loud Encourages A Thirst for Knowledge
For one to crave more knowledge, they first need to know what there is to learn about. Reading different stories to kids is a brilliant way to expose them to just how much information is out there and what topics there are to explore.
When we read to our kids, it generally tends to lead them to ask questions about the book and the stories we have just told. This is an opportunity for you, the reader, as well as the listener/s to have a conversation about what has been read and further elaborate on the topics.
6. It’s A Way to Introduce Kids to New Topics
Just like reading is one of the best ways to teach kids new words, it is also an ideal way to teach them new topics in a light-hearted and natural manner. Providing children with a range of different types of books that cover an arrangement of topics is a creative and fun way to introduce them to a world of interesting information and discoveries.
From books that allow one to discover lists of animals, places and objects to easy reads that help children to learn new concepts and life skills such as sharing, why we should be kind, and even complicated notions like diversity – reading out loud to our younger generations is the ultimate learning experience.
7. It Develops Imagination and Creativity
Our children learn through imagination and play, especially during the very early stages of childhood. When we read books to them, we are feeding their imaginations and opening them up to a variety of fantasy worlds where the sky is the limit. You’ll see that your child will often mimic what they have been read and take on the personas of some of the characters.
When one really engages in a book, they tend to imagine or picture what the characters are doing and how they are doing it. Seeing the enthusiasm in a child’s eyes as you read to them is an indication that they are anticipating what is coming next and that they are really involved in the story we are telling.
8. Reading Helps to Develop Feelings of Empathy and Other Emotions
Children are self-centered beings, they are all born this way. It is up to us to raise them to understand that the world does not revolve around them and that they need to acquire the skill of empathy.
When we read out loud to a child, we help to draw a picture which, together with the child’s imagination, puts them in a situation where they are seeing different sides and perspectives of a scenario. Through this, kids have the opportunity to identify with characters as well as feel what they are feeling. Through reading, kids begin to understand and relate to all sorts of intricate emotions.
9. It’s an Excellent Form of Entertainment
Yup, it’s time to switch off that television set and read! With so much technology on the rise, it’s far easier to place our kids behind screens to keep them occupied and entertained. From fun TV shows to PC and video games, why would anyone want to read? But here’s the thing. If we omit reading to our kids or don’t encourage them to read themselves, then we are relying on technology to teach them all of the points we discussed above. Can we really rely on TV shows and Video games to do the job right?
It’s frightening to see how violent or explicit some videos and kids shows get and they might be learning incorrect information this way. Not to mention it might have a negative effect on their personalities. When we read to our kids, however, we are there with them in the moment and we know exactly what it is they are learning and how they are learning it. Reading is a form of entertainment that has the potential to surpass all other forms and can be enjoyed together as a family. It can curb boredom in nearly any situation!
10. There’s No Better Way to Bond with A Young Child
People have been reading to their children for many generations and not just because it is a way to teach them new things or to keep them busy. As adults, we derive joy from the action too, because we get to spend time with our children while being in the moment with them. A bedtime story is a wonderful way to end a day as a family and together everyone gets to rewind, relax and embark upon an adventure together. Whether you are a parent, a teacher or a family caregiver, reading to kids brings you closer to them and can help form the strongest of bonds.
To end, let’s reflect on the following quote: “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald