Are you wondering what are the benefits of reading to children?
Are you looking for reasons why you should be reading to your child, especially when the child has not even started talking yet?
Do your well-wishers tell you often to buy books for your newborn?
Do you come across parents frequently reading to their toddlers?
If the answer to the above all is a Yes, then this article is surely for you. We have researched through various websites and published papers, to know the benefits of reading to children, and the effect that it would lay on them.
No, you would not make your child a bookworm if you read to your child early in childhood. And no, your child will not be losing his or her childhood if he or she starts to love reading books.
Reading to your child will give them so many benefits you might have not thought about.
According to the research done by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, parental reading to children increases the child’s reading and other cognitive skills at least up to the age of 10–11. This means that your child will perform better at school, understand better, and have a better vocabulary, than his or her peers at least till the age of 10-11 years. Once the child has gained confidence till this age, the chances are that the child will perform better than others further in life.
According to another study done by Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, “Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school”.
So, let us see in detail the benefits of reading to children.
Table of Contents
1. Increases listening ability
When you read to your child the child listens. In the beginning the child can not read. When the child can not read the child has only two options.
1. Look at the pictures
So, when the child listens to you reading to them, the child will also start listening to other things. The child will listen to you when you are talking to them without interrupting, the child will also listen when you are talking to someone else say your spouse (so you need to be careful what you talk in front of the child). But it is developing a good habit in the child. Listening is the best form of communication and helps you understand better.
Read to your child often so that they develop the habit of listening. This will also help in the class, as the child will listen to what the teacher has to say.
2. Increases the child’s vocabulary
As mentioned earlier, the child learns hundreds of words when you read. The more you read to the child the more the child will grasp. A book has so many new and different words, the child can’t learn these words, just by communicating with you or other family members. While reading the child will ask you the meaning of various questions. They will ask you the meaning of different words. This will increase their vocabulary.
3. Increases bonding
We parents keep finding ways to bond with our children even when the bond is already the strongest of all. Reading gets you and your child involved 100%. You spend time together, listen to each other and talk. That further increases the bond. You can sit and relax in your reading corner and spend time together.
Another advantage is, sometimes we adults get bored with the pretend play and the toys of our little ones, so this is the best time to read. You as well as the child would be happy to do that.
4. Enhances reading skills
When you read to your child from a young age the child gets into the habit of it. The child will start trying to read the words earlier than a child who has not been read to. The child will be keener to start reading on their own, and you would be surprised to see that the child is reading at an earlier age than you thought.
5. Increases concentration
When someone is reading for you, you will have to sit quietly in a place and listen. When you sit in a place to listen and understand, you concentrate. So, reading helps in developing concentration. When you are reading to your child every day, the concentration span slowly starts increasing. This helps in increasing the focus of the child. When the focus is better the child performs better at school and other things in life.
6. Develops imagination
When you read especially stories, you tend to imagine. You start relating to the characters and imagining the scenarios. In kid’s books, there are a lot of pictures. When they look at those pictures, they imagine more. So, reading helps in developing imagination. Free play and pretend play are other ways of developing imagination.
7. Helps in calming and relaxing
In the era of gadgets where everything is about reels, videos, games, and lights, reading can calm and relax your brain. Toddlers and preschoolers are always super excited, and they need at least some time of the day to relax and calm down. Reading is one of the best ways to do that. The child will sit down for a while, concentrate on what you are reading to them and relax. Trust me, their brain needs those few minutes of calming down every day.
8. Develops cognitive skills
“Cognitive”, means to understand things. When you read to your child, your child slowly starts understanding words, slowing the meaning of those words. First, they will understand simpler words, shapes, colors, things, etc. Later they will start understanding sentences and logic. So, their cognitive brain starts working. This is a very important part of the development of a child. It is helping the child to develop the ability to think and reason as the child grows.
9. Develops empathy
“Empathy”, means to know or imagine what the other person is feeling. It is one of the most important forms of human connection which is lacking in the present day. We need to build it back.
When you slowly start reading stories to your child, the child will start relating to the characters. And when you relate yourself to the characters, you feel them. This feeling is empathy. The child will start feeling and understanding the importance of it. The child will slowly start applying it to their routine life. Read motivational stories with good morals to your child. This will help in developing empathy. Knowing what other person is feeling can help in reducing the cases of bullying, racism, and ragging in schools and colleges. These emotions are better developed when the child is still young, and books play a very important role in this.
10. Better performance at school
When you are reading to your child since early childhood, your child will be more involved with the vocabulary and reading skills. If the child understands better in school, the child will perform better. Once the child starts performing better in primary school, most of the time it is seen that the child will be doing good in the higher classes as well.
11. Keep them away from gadgets
When you start reading to your child at an early stage in life, the child gets into the habit of reading and when the child is into the habit of reading the child will ask you for more books rather than gadgets. This eventually will help reduce their screen time, which would be better for their eyes as well as their mental health. So, it becomes a win-win situation.
12. Improves communication
The child listens, reads, and understands more, so the child will have more to communicate. A child that is reading books every day will be better at communication than a child who has not been reading anything. They will have new words to use, will start making sentences early, and will even understand better. When we read to our children, they ask us questions. Asking questions is a way of communication. So, reading enhances the child’s communication skills and helps them be better orators and speakers.
13. It is fun
Reading is fun. When you read different stories and learn new things it is fun. It increases your knowledge, concertation, and confidence, also it calms you down. When you read something you are interested in you get engrossed in it. This will help in making it an even more fun and creative way to spend time. Unlike a phones, reading doesn’t involve loud noises and flashy lights, so it rests your brain.