The benefits of
 shared reading

Though it can often be a struggle to find the time, curling up with your little one and sharing a book can be the best way to wrap up a day – for both parent and child. But as well as being a wonderful bonding time, shared reading has been linked with improved language and early reading skills. This positive difference is evident throughout their school years and beyond.

But why would the simple act of reading together have such a positive impact on a child’s academic achievement?

Firstly, there is strong evidence that much of children’s knowledge of sophisticated words is acquired during incidental learning, which occurs while they are being read to. Reading to children exposes them to words not often encountered in everyday life, broadening their vocabulary and general knowledge. This is particularly impactful during those first five years of life – a period of rapid language learning.

Secondly, when reading to children, parents often ask questions and engage in discussions about what’s happening in the story, exploring different outcomes and helping children develop problem-solving skills, which will then lead to enriched cognitive development.

Thirdly, research suggests that experiences related to nursery rhymes, songs, games, and book reading can give young children access to ideas, concepts, and vocabulary that lead to higher levels of mathematics performance. You may notice that many children’s books include mathematics-related content, such as counting, measurements, geometry, growth and change. These enhanced cognitive skills not only lead to better literacy outcomes, and enhanced mathematical comprehension, but great academic achievement in general.

So there really is a great reason to read that extra story tonight!

Not sure what to read? Pop along to your local library where they have a huge range of children’s books to borrow. Find your local branch at


For more great early literacy tips, check out The benefits of black and white books for babies and Finding literacy in the great outdoors.