In this post, I’d like to talk about children and reading. The importance of reading to children from the very start of their lives can not be underestimated. Children who listen to understand stories and learn to read from an early age are better equipped to lead successful and fulfilling lives. Here are nine good reasons why books play such an essential role in our and our children’s lives:
1. Reading to Your Child is Helping on
Their Path to a Successful Life
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“You are never too old, too wacky, too wild to pick up a book and read to a child.” Dr. Seuss
To successfully grasp the very idea of reading, we need to introduce our children to the beautiful experience of reading and learning to read as soon as they are ready. And they are ready as soon as they are born!
When you start reading to your child from very early on is that they get used to the process of reading and listening. Learning with you how to follow words across the page and turn pages (my little ones love to turn pages!) is a significant step in their early journey to reading.
If you read to your baby and toddler, this will prepare them for the school years and give them a head start. If your child enjoys reading, she or he will not only fare better in languages and literacy skills but also do better in other subjects too.
2. Reading Helps Your Child in Language Skills Development
“Be awesome. Be a book nut.” Dr. Seuss
In our daily speaking to our children, we use certain words, and often these are limited in number and are repetitive.
The most often used phrase in our home at the moment is: “Pick up your toys, please!” (the most often response that I get to this one is the puzzled look, as in “WHY are you bothering us???”) 🙂 I know my twins understand what I mean, but usually they don’t feel like complying nor repeating a phrase of that sort!
Through reading and listening to reading from early age children build their vocabulary with the words they might not hear in everyday communication. Books deal with different situations and different topics so it is an ideal way to prepare your child to learn the relevant words and improve language fluency.
3. Reading Aids Your Child’s Brain Development
“Fill your house with all the books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.”
Your child’s brain loves reading and being read to!
First of all, what happens for one child to start reading?
- Infants – need to learn how to process the sound
- Preschool age – learning phonological processing (this means manipulating the sounds of language, adding or deleting sounds in order to make words)
- School-age – mastering reading individual words and use the developed vocabulary that is necessary to read and comprehend sentences and paragraphs.
- The result of all this being the child having the ability to read fluently.
How does brain develop as your child learns different vocabulary and starts reading?
Several regions of the brain are involved in reading and comprehension:
- Temporal lobe – phonological awareness for decoding and understanding sound
- Broca’s area in the Frontal Lobe – responsible for speech and language comprehension
- The Angular and Supramarginal Gyrus – they link different parts of the brain to put the letter shapes together to form words
- White Matter Pathways – the brain’s highway system that connects the back brain’s reading pathways to the front part of the brain. For successful reading and comprehension to happen, this highway system needs to be wide enough and smooth for quite a few pieces of information to travel at the same time.
So, the more the child reads, the more his ‘brain reading highway’ develops and his language skills improve!
4. Reading Helps in Developing Concentration
“You can find magic, wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” Dr. Seuss
Reading really does help your child’s concentration. However, at first, you could be faced with the wriggling toddler, who might not be able to sit down quietly for longer than a couple of minutes at a time. With a bit of fun effort, your child can learn to concentrate on reading which will, in turn, help the ability to focus on other things as he or she grows up.
I feel it’s best to approach this with an open mind and strive to prolong the reading, a couple of minutes at a time. This way children learn gradually to concentrate on the story you are reading and to sit still (or as still as a small child can!)
Five ways to help your child learn to concentrate on reading:
- Break up the reading time – I feel it might be a lot to expect the child to sit down for a long period of time, no matter how compelling a story. Depending on your child’s age, several times throughout the day, good, fun few minutes count more than long minutes that put the child off reading altogether. Associating a positive experience with reading will strengthen their desire to read more and will very soon ask themselves to read or to be read to.
- Have a distraction-free zone – TV, computer, tablets be switched off, please. It’s impossible to concentrate on anything even when you are an adult if there are moving pictures right there in front of you.
- Chose your child’s favorite books – Right now, I’d love to read Peter Rabbit to my twins, but they will not hear of it! Paw Patrol is on a roll! So, we are reading Paw Patrol first with the other stories sneaked in between the Sky and Chase adventures. It works, and they are really enjoying it. Me too. 🙂
- Use sensory books – For younger children, this is such a good choice! Children love to explore the feeling of different textures and shapes. With these books, you will have a comfortable and willing participant in your child. They are my favorite too, but please don’t tell anyone!
- Let them ‘read’ before they’ve even learned the letters:
- Start or finish the sentence
- Count the objects on the page
- Tell colors on the page
- Describe the textures in the book
- Describe and imitate the facial expressions of the characters
- Tell the sounds of the objects/characters in the book
5. Reading Inspires Your Child to Want to Learn More
“I can read in red. I can read in blue. I can read in pickle color too.” Dr. Seuss
Reading to your child exposes them to different worlds and different situations. As they learn about various subjects, they will become more curious and have that thirst for knowledge last them a lifetime.
I feel this is one of the great gifts we can give our children. We can’t teach them everything, but if we can instill curiosity and show them the joy of discovering new things and valuable knowledge about the subjects that interest them, we will be doing them an excellent service!
A child who loves to learn is a joyous child!
6. Reading Helps Your Child Find Out About Many Things
“The more you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” Dr. Seuss
There is a children’s book out there on just about every subject imaginable. How amazing is that! Books on different topics expose the child to different worlds of animals, places, people, customs, music, games…
Also, books teach ways in how to deal with some stressful situations like bullying, grief, illness. These skills are more comfortable to learn through stories, giving the feeling that the child is not alone experiencing difficult times.
Books show how to be kind, recognizing what is right, sharing, teach about diversity, respect and every other aspect of life.
7. Reading Helps Your Child’s Imagination and Creativity
“Reading can take you places you have never been before.” Dr. Seuss
One of the significant benefits of reading to your child is developing their imagination. Their minds are fertile grounds for this. Stories told in books encourage the child’s imagination to take flight and visit different, exciting worlds.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For a while, knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” Albert Einstein
Children so readily accept make-believe. Nothing seems impossible, and every page brings a new adventure!
8 Reading Helps You and Your Child to Bond
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting,
so… get on your way!” Dr. Seuss
I love reading to my twins! Even more, enjoy the fact they now, themselves ask for book-time knowing this is going to be just our time together. We can fly off to another adventure even if it is only in our living room and it’s raining outside!
Bonding with your child is so lovely over a story and gives topics for conversations. Now you can use the newly learned words and that way imprint them on your child’s memory. They will have a great vocabulary in no time!
9 Reading Is Fun!
“I like nonsense; it wakes up brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary
ingredient in living.” Dr. Seuss
If we read to our children and teach them how to read from an early age, there is a great chance they will grow up to prefer spending time reading books instead of watching TV or use any other form of technology. (I have written about children and technology in one of my earlier posts, click here to read it.). Not only is the reading a healthier and more educational option in fulfilling our pastime, it is also very entertaining!
So, go on, read to your child and teach them how to read from an early age!
Wishing you many magical stories and times together!
If you’d like to start teaching your toddler how to read (yes, you read correctly, I did write a toddler!), please check out my No1 recommended program for children learning reading, here!
Please leave in a comment section below, what are your and your children’s favorite books to read. If you have any suggestions for super-fun toddler’s books, do let me know!