When I was a child, my father had to take several business trips each year to field test the products he designed. When he returned, my sisters and I would gather around as he opened his suitcase because we knew he had brought us back a gift – a book for each of us. It wasn’t until I became a teacher and a parent myself that I realized that beyond those pages bound in pressed cardboard was a greater gift – the routine of him reading those books to us before saying good night.
Reading with your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give her. Having such a routine has lasting benefits to your child that will continue throughout school and life. If parents read to a child for just 15 minutes a day she will hear well over 1,000,000 words in a year and score 90% better than her peers on standardized tests later in school. The specific benefits begin even before the child enters school and include improved language and brain development, established early literacy skills, and stronger bonding between parents and their child.
Reading daily to young children increases their exposure to language and speech sounds. It not only builds their vocabulary, but helps them to understand grammatical and sentence structures as well as the intentions and meaning of words in context.
Reading daily to your young child is proven to improve their ability to think, comprehend, and remember. Reading strengthens existing connections among brain cells while forming new ones in regions of the brain that are later critical for reading and using language.
Reading daily to your young child introduces them to the printed word as well as expands her knowledge of the spoken word. Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds in spoken words is a critical foundational skill for reading. Reading books with your child also helps her understand that pictures and words are representations of ideas.
Reading is a chance for children and parents to communicate and forge a strong bond. It can provide routine and security and build a sense of trust.
Additionally, reading exposes children to all types of subjects, cultures and concepts and helps build their understanding of humanity and the world around them and stories can provide models for dealing with emotions, behavior and relationships.
Finally, reading to your child gives her greater equity as she enters school. This is especially true for a child who has limited resources at home or who has difficulty learning how to read, pay attention or self-regulate. To know more, click here.
For tips for reading with young children, click here.