We are all aware that reading is good thing, but there are certain developmental reasons why reading with children is crucial and gives your toddler or preschool-age child specific educational advantages. As a parent you have the unique ability to enhance your child’s learning potential just by making reading a fundamental part of their lives. Reading aloud to them stimulates imagination, increases their vocabulary and expands their understanding of the world around them. Their language and listening skills are enriched as well, which help with their writing skills once they enter grade school. The following are just a few more benefits that come from reading with your child.
1. The development and improvement of basic speech skills. From toddlerhood to preschool, your child is developing critical language and enunciation skills. As you read together they learn basic sounds and develop the capability to form clearer words. Even as your child “pretend reads” on their own they are beginning to sound out words which reinforces pre-literacy.
2. Increased communication skills. The more you read with your child the more likely they are to express themselves and relate to their peers and adults around them in a healthy way. Listening to the characters interact with each other in the stories allows your child to gain priceless communication skills that they can use the rest of their lives. The special contact you have with them during story time also improves these skills.
3. Improved logical thinking. As your child listens to you read, their ability to understand abstract concepts improves. They also gain a greater ability to apply logic to a variety of scenarios, utilize good judgment and recognize cause and effect throughout the story. The more you read, the more your child will begin relating the scenarios in the book such as friendship, sharing and cooperation, to their own lives. On top of this logical thinking, reading with children also stimulates imagination, which can save a busy mom’s life when she doesn’t have the time to entertain her little one.
4. Discipline and concentration development. At first, your child may find it is difficult to sit still for the entire duration of a book. However, the more routine you make reading in their lives, they will eventually learn to stay calm and listen for the entire time. Their reading comprehension will improve as well as their attention span, greater self-discipline and better memory retention. All of these skills will significantly help them once they enter grade school.
5. Reading will become a natural part of life. The groundwork you do now is setting the precedence for behaviors down the road. The more you read to your child the less likely they will be to look to other forms of entertainment such as video games and television. When you introduce reading to your child at a young age, they learn to appreciate it all the way into their adult life.
Books are a crucial part of your child’s personal development. With your help, you can cultivate a deep appreciation for reading and equip them with the tools they need to succeed in life. When you prepare them in this way, you help build the foundation for academic excellence and begin a lifelong relationship with the printed word.