Read with Your Child
We all remember our favorite book when we were children. Those books were important for our development. In fact, how much we enjoyed reading as children influences the way we approach reading and learning today.
Help your children be the best they can be by reading aloud with them. Reading together encourages their development in three important ways: emotionally, verbally, and intellectually.
Emotional Development -- Bond With Your Child
Setting aside 20 minutes a day to read with your child is a great way to remind them how much you care. Cuddling with a parent and looking forward to a special reading time helps children feel special and emotionally fulfilled. Talk with them about the story, and be creative! Imagine different endings, spend time going over each picture, and take on different voices for each character. This kind of involvement will help stimulate your child's imagination and make them associate reading with pleasure. It allows them to be creative and silly while learning in an emotionally supportive environment. Children also look up to their parents as reading role models. When a parent makes reading a priority, children are more likely to as well.
Verbal Development -- Improve Your Child's Speech Skills
Reading to children under the age of five helps them expand their language skills. The simple act of reading aloud exposes children to new words, which will help them expand their vocabulary in preparation for pre-school and kindergarten. It is also important to engage a child during reading-time. Ask them questions that have complex answers so that they can learn to better express themselves and try out new vocabulary in a safe, non-threatening environment. With direct questions, children can begin to understand the value of language and the types of ideas it can convey. Though reading aloud with your children is especially important before they reach the age of five, reading time should not stop as soon as they begin school. Keep reading together through elementary school so they can continue to grow their language skills and bond with you.
Intellectual Development -- Give Their Education a Boost
Scientific studies have shown that reading aloud to children has numerous short and long-term educational benefits. Hearing a parent helps children improve their listening comprehension and memory skills, which sets them up to be astute and attentive learners in school. Reading at a young age also introduces children to new concepts. Each time you begin a book, talk about what appears on the front and back cover, title page, and spine so your child can learn the components of a book. As you begin reading, move your finger under the words so they can see that we read from left to right. Children also develop pre-literacy when listening to their parents read aloud, which will give them a leg-up when they begin school. Specifically, they gain familiarity with numbers, letters, colors, shapes, and sounds—concepts that will be reinforced in kindergarten. Finally, reading at a young age helps children grow as readers and thinkers. It encourages them to develop intellectual curiosity and an interest in learning. In fact, studies show that children who are read to at a young age are more likely to stay in school longer than children who did not have the same early exposure to reading.
Give your children every opportunity to succeed. Set aside the time and start reading with them tonight!
Written by Christie Greeley
Christie is a double major in English and History at Vassar College and a contributor to Forward Thinking, the Ashford University blog.