Teachers and child development experts have been singing the praises of reading, and especially shared reading, for decades. And there is a very good reason for that: kids who read, alone or with a parent, from a young age develop into incredibly smart humans. Smart humans are a great thing.
1. Language development
Studies have shown that children who are read to from a young age, around eight months old, have a larger vocabulary at age three than their same age peers who are not read to frequently. Seriously. Being read to develops language acquisition skills even before those first baby babbles.
Additionally, students who are read to develop better critical thinking and reading comprehension skills over the long term. This is especially true when parents actively engage their children with questions about the books. For example: What color is the dog? Who is this book about? Where do you think he will go next? Why did she do that?
Children who are read to also develop curiosity, memory skills, and motivation. This can lead to a higher intrinsic desire to learn.
All of these things can boost academic performance throughout life.
2. Bonding time
Reading together creates a positive memory for you and your child. Getting close to you, their beloved parent, and enjoying a good book feels amazing. They will want to replicate that feeling over and over, building a routine and ritual around reading.
As a result of this positive experience with books, your child learns that reading is pleasurable. This concepts works for anything that you share together: running, watching TV, eating junk food. Your habits become their habits, so make your routine a good one!
A child who likes to read with you may grow up to be a person who just likes to read. A person who habitually reads is someone who is informed about their world, someone who wants to learn new things, someone who uses his imagination to explore new worlds, and who is motivated to try new things.
3. Getting a head start on school
Children who have not been read to are behind the eight ball in the early years of school. Kids that have been read to already know about books. They understand which way to hold a book, which way the words go, how to turn pages, and may be starting to make letter/sound connections. These are the basics of early reading skills, and your child probably has them.
4. Cope during stressful time
While kids are often sheltered during stressful times, they are more aware of what is happening that adults might be aware of. This is especially true for military families.
Children who read have an escape hatch, though. When it gets too tough, they can crack the spine of a book and get reading. They can disappear into someone else’s life, another world, or learn something new.
Military children can connect to their deployed parents through United Through Reading. This free service connects parents and children through video/audio recorded books, and helps maintain parent/child connections and decrease worry during stressful deployments.
- ahead of the curve with language development and vocabulary acquisition
- more creative and inquisitive
- better at remembering things
- better able to motivate themselves
- better at coping with stress
- creating positive associations to reading
- creating memories with their parents/loved ones
All of these things seems pretty amazing! And all it takes is just a few minutes each day, maybe right before bed, to sit down and read with your child.
So do it! Trust me, you want a child who reads.