Reading is arguably one of the most important skills to have, and one that impacts every aspect of your life. It is never too soon to begin reading to your children and doing so has many developmental benefits – especially in the earliest years of life. Sharing a love of books with your newborn, toddler and school-aged children will help them build a foundation for future success and instill a lifelong love of reading.
Reading a great way to bond.
Reading with your children is a very personal one-on-one activity. For babies, having a parent read aloud is soothing because they love to listen to your voice. It can be a very special way for mom, dad, and siblings to bond because you can turn off all the technology, snuggle and focus on one thing together. Chances are, all day you’re running in different directions – making dinner while your spouse tidies up and kids play or do homework. Remember the importance of setting aside family time, even if it’s just 15 minutes each evening!
Your little ones will be more prepared to read on their own.
The fact that you are able to read probably doesn’t cross your mind. Reading has become so natural, that the ability to read is taken for granted. But think about it from your child’s perspective; there are strange squiggles and lines all put together in millions of sequences that mean different things…and you have to figure it all out! The letter “A” makes one sound in some words and other sounds in other words. It can be really overwhelming! But, seeing that you are able to do it and knowing that you’re there to help will fuel their confidence. By reading with your children regularly, you’re setting them up for success!
Reading boosts intelligence.
Reading is important even for your baby. Your little one may not understand the words you’re saying at first, but hearing you speak will help her to have a larger vocabulary as she begins talking on her own. She will learn to recognize these words as she reads, boosting her confidence in many areas educationally.
Reading is such a basic skill that impacts writing, math, and critical thinking skills. In fact, according to the National Education Association, there is a correlation between parental involvement and students having higher reading comprehension scores – by a lot!
Reading inspires imagination.
Have you ever watched your child play and make up games or stories with their toys? Children naturally have a wonderful sense of imagination and reading fuels their creativity further – giving them ideas that they never dreamed possible.
Have you heard the saying that a reader lives a thousand lives while a non-reader only lives one? Reading will introduce your little one to characters and ideas that they might not have known otherwise. If there is something they are very interested in – like dinosaurs – books are a great way to help them learn while encouraging their imagination. Plus, you never know when an interest will stick with them and become a life-long hobby or even career!
They learn about emotions.
As you are reading aloud, your little one picks up on the inflections of your voice as the “moods” of different books change. You may add inflections to your voice for different characters or change your tone when something exciting or sad happens. This is important because it teaches your little one the meanings behind particular emotions and words. When we said that reading impacts many areas of your children’s lives, we meant it! Experiencing your verbal cues for emotion will help your little one with emotional intelligence all throughout life.
You may have a handful of favorite books at home that you read together frequently, but remember to brand out and find new things to read, too. Get a library card and check out new books together each week. If you grow bored with children’s books, pick up a magazine, newspaper or even a novel to read with your kids. As your kids get older, have them read to you instead of just you reading to them. Engage in conversation and ask questions about what you’ve read together and share what you learned.