As parents, we know there are many Benefits of Reading with Your Child.
But what are the actual benefits of reading with your child and how can we help our children fall in love with reading?
Reading is magical; books transport us into other worlds. We can learn about different cultures and immerse ourselves in the lives of the characters in the books.
Studies have shown that reading to toddlers and preschoolers every day results in them having a much larger vocabulary.
Even babies as young as a few weeks old benefit from being read to every day.
Reading increases your child's general knowledge; they learn about the world around them, everyday life and how to read and write.
Benefits of Reading with Your Child
1. Develops Language Skills
Reading books exposes your child to a range of vocabulary on various topics. These are often words they do not necessarily hear in everyday conversations. When my son was little, he loved trains, and we would read so many train books – he learnt words like boiler and piston. These are words he would not have heard in our day to day lives.
2. Better Academic Performance
When you start reading with your child, they learn essential reading foundations such as which way to hold a book, how the text on the page goes from left to right and that you start reading at the top of the page. These are all pre-reading skills which will help them with their reading later on. Also, the more you read to your child, the more knowledge they will gain.
3. Imagination and Creativity Skills Develop
When we read as adults, we immerse ourselves in the story. We can imagine and visualise what the characters are doing and what the characters and settings may look like in the story.
When we read to children at a young age, they start to develop their imaginations. They get excited about what is going to happen in the book and what the characters might say and do. As your child gets older, you can ask questions before during and after reading to continue to develop their reading skills and comprehension.
4. Develops Empathy
Reading helps children develop empathy. As they get older, they will be able to put themselves into the story. They will start to identify with the characters and feel the emotions they are feeling. The development of empathy helps your child begin to understand and relate to different feelings.
5. Gains a Deeper Understanding of the World
Reading a diverse range of books develops your child’s knowledge of the world. There are many non-fictional books on a wide range of topics including, engineering, trains, animals, craft etc. that will increase your child's general knowledge. Books about topics such as sharing and being kind help to teach your child essential life skills.
6. Concentration Levels Improve
The more consistently you read to your child, the more they will start to sit still for more extended periods, and their concentration will improve. Acquiring these skills at a young age will help them when they go to school.
7. Parent and Child Bond Improves
Cuddling up with your child and reading a book or bedtime story together is a particular time that you both will cherish and remember. You can have lots of fun reading together, talking about the book, laughing at the silly rhymes and just enjoying being in each other’s company.
8. Exercises your Child’s Brain and Supports their Cognitive Development
The areas of the brain responsible for a child's language development is affected when reading at a young age. Your child learns thinking skills. They start to understand cause and effect, think in logical and abstract terms and know the consequences of their actions, and the basics of right from wrong.
Books are a great way to teach young children about colours, shapes, animals, numbers, letters and more. As they get older books will help your child expand their chain of knowledge. For example, they may have an interest in trucks which will boost their appeal into other forms of transportation such as boats and soon they will want to read books about boat construction, engineering and so on.
9. Social Skills and Interaction Improve
Your child will learn about different relationships, interactions with others, emotions and personalities. They then use this knowledge and apply this in the real world.
10. Books are a Form of Entertainment
Reading books about topics that interest your child can be just as entertaining as TV, iPads and video games. Reading does not have to be limited to books, let your child read magazines or comics. Incorporating reading into everyday play and offering a range of reading materials will help your child enjoy reading.
Benefits of reading to your child, especially those linked to literacy and language development can also be achieved through storytelling, singing songs and nursery rhymes together. My son used to love me to tell him stories during bathtime, and it was so cute to see the excitement on his face as I created suspense in the stories.
You could also take your child to the library. You can make going to the library a special time for you and your child. Get them involved, ask them questions about what type of books they will choose, how many books you will borrow and what their favourite types of books are. You can let them pick out the books that interest them. Many libraries also have storytimes that your child may enjoy.
The benefits of reading to your child are extensive and to help get you started I have put together a list of the best books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers (0-5-years old) that you can browse here. We would love to hear what your favourite books to read to your child are.