Guest Post Contributed by: Andrea Gibbs
Helping your child develop their reading skills may seem to be a difficult task, especially when your child is very young. However, it may be easier than you think. Reading aloud to your child helps them to learn the proper skills to make reading on their own later a calming, relaxing, and fun activity.
A child’s literacy journey begins when they first hear the rhythmic cadences of language. This is why reading aloud to your child is so important: It helps them develop their literacy skills by exposing them to both simple and complex sentence structures, expressive intonation, and a wide range of vocabulary. This greatly prepares children for their future when they are ready to read and understand more difficult stories on their own.
You may wonder how else reading to your child is benefits them. Research demonstrates countless ways, including improving literacy and even strengthening the bond between children and their caregivers.
Improves Their Literacy and Reading Skills
Reading aloud with your child is an excellent way to help them develop their literacy and reading skills. When you read aloud to your child, you are helping them learn how to take in new information from written text. Hearing the sounds of words helps children develop their phonemic awareness, which is the ability to listen to and differentiate between sounds in words. This is an important skill for learning how to read and write.
Reading aloud improves your child’s receptive language skills (the ability to understand what they are reading) and expressive language skills (the ability to express themselves verbally). Reading aloud with your child exposes them to speaking in complete sentences and using higher-level vocabulary.
When you read aloud with your child regularly, they will also increase their attention span and memory retention skills!
Enhances Their Language Proficiency
Reading aloud with your child helps their language proficiency, which is a key indicator of future academic success. Children learn new words and language patterns through reading, which allows them to develop a strong grasp of grammar and word usage.
In addition, reading aloud has been shown to increase vocabulary in children significantly. Reading 20 minutes per day exposes children to 1.8 million words over the course of one year, and reading for five minutes per day exposes children to a little fewer than 300,000 words in a year.
Strengthens Parent-Child Relationships
Having a good parent-child relationship can start with reading aloud to your child. When you and your child share a book, you create an opportunity for bonding and connection. Reading aloud also helps children feel more relaxed and safe with their parents. The love and warmth that comes through in a reading session encourage children to trust and open up to those they love most.
In addition to strengthening your bond with your child, reading aloud can also help children develop their own sense of self-worth. Kids can learn resilience in the face of adversity by reading stories about children who have overcome obstacles or have been mistreated by others.
Improves Concentration and Discipline
With the help of reading aloud, your child will develop better concentration and discipline.
You can teach your child to focus and increase their attention span by reading aloud to them. They’ll learn to control their emotions and focus on the objective, whether reading a book or doing homework. Be persistent. If you have an energetic toddler who doesn’t sit still, don’t give up on reading to them. Try to find a calm moment in the day—like when they are eating lunch or just before bed—and even if they wiggle, keep reading.
You may find your child becoming (just a little) more patient and disciplined as they learn to sit, listen, and anticipate what might happen next in a story.
Boosts Academic Performance
Reading aloud with your child is one of the good ways to help them succeed in school. It boosts their academic performance, helps them improve their vocabulary, and helps them develop critical thinking skills. Studies have shown that children who read aloud score higher on standardized tests than those who don’t.
Through reading and exposure to the written word, children can broaden their world view, which will help them better absorb new information in history and science classes. They will learn empathy, which will help them connect to their peers and work well in groups. Also, good writers are almost always avid readers, so keep reading to develop your child’s writing skills too!
Expands Their Imagination
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to help them expand their imagination. Reading aloud can do that in a number of ways.
First, it gives them access to new worlds and ideas. The more you read aloud, the more your kids will be exposed to new concepts and ideas, which can help them grow as learners and thinkers.
Second, reading allows kids to explore characters they might not meet in real life—like an astronaut or a cowboy! You might even see your child engaging in pretend play using some of the characters or roles they’ve encountered during story time.
Thirdly, reading aloud helps your child’s imagination grow by allowing them to create pictures in their minds based on the words you’re reading out loud. You can even ask your children questions to see if they are understanding if you think something might be confusing for them—this will help them connect with what they’re reading so much more than simply listening passively.
Maintains a Healthy Brain
Reading aloud to your child is a great way to help them develop their learning. It can also help them maintain a healthy brain.
Reading aloud helps the brain develop as physical activity does for the body. It builds connections between neurons and helps them grow stronger and more numerous.
When you read aloud, you’re giving your child a chance to practice their listening skills, which will help them learn to focus on what they’re doing and tune out other noises around them (like siblings).
Reading aloud helps develop a child’s imagination by allowing them to travel into worlds they’ve never seen before or re-live experiences they’ve had in the past through different characters’ eyes.
Provides Them with Entertainment
Reading aloud with your child will give them a way to enjoy something that you might enjoy as well. It’s a chance for you to share a mutual passion—whether it’s enjoying certain types of narratives, exploring nonfiction topics that interest you both, or taking a journey into the past with historical figures.
Regardless of the theme, children can become enthralled with books when you read aloud, and they can develop a passion for books and reading that can follow them far into the future and bring them joy throughout their lives.
The benefits of reading aloud to your child are endless. It sparks the imagination, which ignites the passion for learning, connecting with others, and opening up the world in front of them. Helping your child develop a love of reading and books is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child and one of the longest-lasting impacts you can have.
Andrea is currently the head of content management at SpringHive Web Design Company. This digital agency provides creative web design, social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also a blog contributor at Baby Steps Preschool, writing storytime themes, parenting tips, and seasonal activities to entertain children.