Intuition tells us that reading aloud to young children has benefits, as there is nothing quite like the feeling of your child snuggled on your lap, rapt with attention, while you read a story.
Here’s what you may not know: the simple act of reading aloud to your young child is good for their cognitive, emotional, and social development!
It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Studies show there are a multitude of benefits to reading to infants and babies as well as older children.
Seven Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Child:
Emotional and Social: Hearing you use various emotions and expressive sounds as you give voice to a book’s characters fosters social and emotional skills in your child. Looking at illustrations encourages your child – even babies! – to touch, point, look, and ask questions. All of these promote social development and thinking skills. Cuddling with your child while you read also fosters emotional security as they feel safe, warm, and connected to you.
Multi-sensory Development: If you watch your child during story time you will notice that they are listening, looking, touching – and sometimes even tasting! – while you read. All of this sensory input feeds your child’s natural curiosity, develops right-brain creativity, and improves verbal skills.
Increases Pattern Recognition: You may have noticed that your child wants the same few books read again and again. While this may be tiresome for you it’s great for your child’s brain! Hearing the same text several times over helps youngsters grasp patterns and sequences in language. This increases their literacy skills and accelerates their own learning curve when they start to learn to read. Research shows that re-reading favorite books can boost vocabulary skills by up to 40%!
Increases Vocabulary and Literacy: Reading to your child has vocabulary benefits that are different than those learned in everyday conversation. We tend to speak to children at their level, often using truncated sentences, colloquialisms, and jargon. Literature not only exposes your child to more sophisticated language but is also essential for learning phonetics, grammar, and sentence structure. Reading aloud increases literacy and reading comprehension as well. When parent reading involvement is high, a child’s reading scores are 28 points higher than the national average, as compared to low parent reading involvement where scores were 46 points below the national average.
Better Math Skills: This is one you may not expect! According to the National Education Association, children who read at home have higher math scores. In fact, when starting school, children who were read to are more likely to be able to count to 20 or higher.
Family Bonding: While mothers tend to be the primary reader, fathers, grandparents, and other significant adults in a child’s life play a vital role in encouraging children to be active readers, as they provide a valuable range of experiences for your child.
Makes Reading FUN! As any avid reader knows, there are few things better than curling up with a good book and not wanting to put it down. By modeling this to children, parents set an important example and create new generations of passionate readers!
There are clearly many benefits to reading aloud to your child, and it’s a good idea to start this practice as early as infancy. It’s a great bonding experience for both of you, it helps your child’s brain development, and accelerates reading when your child reaches school age.
What are some books your child loves to read? Which book do they want to hear again and again? Do you have any favorites to read to your child? Let us know in the comments!