EDUCATION: 5 key benefits of reading aloud to your children

03 June 2016

It’s never too early to start reading aloud to your children, with this form of early intervention helping boost a child’s learning power, setting them up for success later in life.

Reading a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Sharing this joyous experience with your child by reading aloud is a valuable way to get them on the path to loving books as well.

Here are five great benefits of reading to your kids put together by Ryan SpencerDymocks Literacy Expert and State Director of the Australian Literacy Educator's Association:

1. It provides an opportunity to share quality time together

Setting aside time everyday day to read to your child is a great way to bond with over a much-loved story. This precious time is valuable for your child’s reading progression and can have profound effects on their social, interpersonal and literacy skills. When you explore new and favourite books by reading aloud, it fosters an emotional connection that allows your child to discover and appreciate the wonder that books can provide. Reading together is ultimately an act of love – it is also one of the best ways to help your child progress in their reading development. Switch it up between different members of the family so that everyone gets involved.

2. It helps boost brain power

Did you know that listening to stories actually changes a child’s brain biologically? Research shows that when preschool children are frequently read to, the brain areas supporting comprehension and mental imagery are highly engaged. This then helps with the development of reading skills, such as word recognition, when kids start to learn to read. Before you start a book, scan through the pages with your child and point out interesting words they might not have seen before.

3. It improves self esteem

Reading together exposes children to new experiences, helps them to develop creative imagination and puts themselves in other people’s shoes. Additionally, when you share stories that reflect familiar events or new experiences, it can help to lessen a child’s anxiety in the long run. This paves the way for them to discuss their worries and deal with transition much easier. Essentially, reading to your kids can help boost their confidence.

4. It betters language and communication skills

Research shows that one in five children starts school in Australia ‘developmentally vulnerable’ in at least one area such as language, cognitive skills or communication. Boost your child’s learning power and emerging language skills by reading to them from an early age. Engage your child with fundamental pre-literacy activities such as asking them to point at words and pictures, encouraging them to learn new vocabulary and discussing stories together. These efforts work to help improve their communication skills in the long run.

5. It sets children up to enjoy books for pleasure

When you expose books to your children from an early age, you teach kids that reading is fun. Kids who read for pleasure end up being better readers. To foster a genuine interest and love for reading, parents should celebrate book choice and variety, allowing kids to be adventurous with their selections. Encourage them to try new books in varying formats, and release any imposed pressure or restrictions. Read to your children in funny voices and make the session interactive. Doing all of the above can help overturn the notion that ‘books are boring’ and encourage children to read for pleasure.

Can’t wait to start reading to your little ones? See our book reviews and recommendations, or choose from a selection of children’s books online, with options for every age.

What is your child’s favourite book?

You might also like: top 10 parenting tips from a doctor15 ways to communicate with your child and how to create a lifelong passion for reading.

 

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City

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