Even though parents instinctively know there are benefits of reading to children, it’s hard to find time to read! There are seemingly more tasks to be done than hours in the day, and reading feels like something you can drop.
However, research shows how important reading is for a child’s development. Here are just a few.
Reading Stories Builds Language Skills
It’s only common sense that children learn their language skills from adults. Babies are born with no knowledge of language. But as early as three to six months, babies can respond to their own names and know if you’re pleased or displeased by your tone.
At six to nine months, babies can understand simple, concrete words like “paci” or “bottle.” At nine to twelve months, they understand “mama and dada,” and the word “no.”
Stories–especially those that can be read over and over–expose children to new words and help them comprehend their meaning. Memorizing a story lets children absorb the language to a greater degree because they are rehearsing the meaning of each word.
Reading Stories Increases Vocabulary
Many stories use words that we don’t use in our everyday conversations. This means reading to children exposes them to new, beautiful, and interesting words, which develops the brain to help children better understand narratives and picture the stories in their heads.
Reading Stories Improves Literacy
Research shows advanced literacy skills stems from reading aloud to children. When children who were read to, beginning at six months, they received higher literacy scores in formal schooling than children who were not read to.
Literacy impacts a child’s overall education, and by extension, the trajectory for their adult lives. Children who are literate will be more likely to do well in school, which helps them in college, their careers, and the rest of their lives.
Don’t Be Fooled: Technology Can’t Replace Reading
If early exposure to new words helps literacy, can’t you just put on a children’s podcast, audiobook, or television series?
Don’t be fooled: it’s not the same!
Babies can make no sense of stories without a visual context, meaning they have to have pictures to make sense of the story. However, even the American Academy of Pediatrics states babies under two shouldn’t watch television. This means the solution is to take the time to read with your child.
Toddlers and young children may understand basic stories from an audiobook or television show, but there is no emotional bonding, and oftentimes, there can be a technology “crash” after turning it off.
How Do I Start Reading to My Child?
If you feel inspired but intimidated to start reading to your child, you’re not alone. Luckily, reading to your child is easy!
First, set reasonable expectations based on your child’s age and how much time you have. Babies won’t sit for long periods of time, and children who aren’t used to reading stories may not sit for a long time, either. Start small by reading one short book and aim for just a few minutes of reading a day. Slowly add in one or two more stories, then add in longer stories.
Before you know it, both you and your child will enjoy reading together!
Bright Start Louisville Values Reading
At Bright Start Louisville, we understand how important it is to read to babies and children. That’s why we prioritize read-aloud time in our daily routine. While you should still read with your child, you can rest assured that your child is listening to quality stories and experiencing all the benefits of early-age literacy.
Bright Start Louisville offers exceptional childcare to children six weeks to 12 years old. We’re proud to offer a fun and educational preschool program that prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.
If you’re looking for excellent childcare that gives your child a head start in life, contact Bright Start Louisville today!