When parents take their time to read books to their children, they are not doing it just for pleasure. They are helping their children develop a passion for stories and poems;
They are giving their children a leg up in becoming endless readers. Readers whose world will forever expand and be enriched. There is no better activity to prepare a child for successful reading and building their literacy skills than reading books to them. There are various fruits to be reaped from regularly reading books to children, and these fruits come in different forms:
Affects brain development
Research conducted by John Hutton, MD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, has shown that preschool children exposed to reading at home have significantly greater neural activity in the brain areas responsible for language development. For example, parts of the brain responsible for imagery and comprehension showed more neuronal activity. The research points to the fact that reading books to children really expands, amplifies, and helps your child develop skills in comprehension and language development better than their peers who don’t have the same exposure.
In another research conducted by Dr. Adrienne L. Tierney, a graduate of Harvard, it was found that although the brain may come with certain perceptual information, it is the specific stimuli, such as exposure to speech, language, and range of faces, that drives subsequent development. Moreover, she adds that these exposures are essential to later developments & can lead to severe consequences in both brain structure and function. So reading books to children and talking to them can have a tremendous impact on their future.
When parents read books to children, they are providing them with a variety of words that they may not have heard before. Technically, by age five, a child from a professional family would have heard about 169,520 cumulative words from their families if they read 3 to 4 times per week. The sight words your child will need to know by the end of kindergarten will not come as a shock to your child since they will have heard at least a quarter of them. In fact, Young children have the incredible ability to easily learn new vocabulary. They have the motivation to learn new words because they also want to fit into daily conversation. Children also love to imitate what they see and hear in their environment, making it easy for them to pick up new words from their parents during reading sessions.
Improves child’s Memory and attention
When your child takes an interest in listening to stories, they are in a better position to recall at least every detail with minimal effort. Attention and Memory always go hand in hand; you cannot have one without the other. In the instance of reading a story to a child, the stories stimulate their imagination, expand their awareness of the world, and stretch their understanding beyond reading level. Again When the child finds the stories fascinating, their attention and Memory are improved simultaneously.
A few basic for reading to your child
Start reading to from a young age
At about ten months old, your child can point at objects around the environment. This means they can look at pictures and point at them. Perhaps they look at the picture in a book and notice some close semblance to what they have seen before. You can read books to children at home & help them point out the objects in the book as you sound out their name. Of course, this will quickly build their object name vocabulary and help them get familiar with them. It will also stimulate their imagination as they get to explore the world around them.
Make the reading fun for the child
The essential purpose of reading books to children is to instill a reading culture in them. We can instill a culture where our children look forward to written text to expand their awareness and enrich their minds. Through your guidance, your child can learn about different cultures, different ways of life, and social behaviors. The best way to make the reading fun to them is to treat the reading session as though it’s their favorite meal time. Promise them how enjoyable you will make the reading to them and keep your word by using animated voice-over, tone variations, sound effects, and such.
Read to them once a day.
To keep the momentum going, try to read them a story each day. Of course, you can skip a day or two but try to have some consistency. Children love listening to stories, and most so, if you allow them the time to ask questions, to make comments, and give suggestions. So, if possible, try to have a designated reading time each day. You can create a timetable for the reading sessions where your child chooses the book they like most. The more favorite the story, the more attention it will get from your child.
Engage the child
To engage the child, don’t just read to the child plainly. Rather you could ask them to turn the pages, and then you can use hand-eye coordination to point the paragraphs as you read to them. Also try to follow each word with your finger so they can follow along and notice what you are reading.Point out the pictures on the pages and make funny faces that will get them laughing. Making the reading session interactive and fun is a sure way to make your child interested in reading.
Pick a story with Rhymes
Look for a storybook with poems that rhyme. Children love rhythm and rhyme because it is catchy to them. They are also memorable and easy to comprehend for the child. In no time, the child will memorize most parts of the book and even start copying how you read it. Just ensure to read the poem slowly, act out some parts, and voice out different characters. This will make the child more interested in reading and have fun with it.
- Hutton JS, Horowitz-Kraus T, Mendelsohn AL, DeWitt T, Holland SK; C-MIND Authorship Consortium. Home Reading Environment and Brain Activation in Preschool Children Listening to Stories. Pediatrics. 2015 Sep;136(3):466-78. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0359. Epub 2015 Aug 10. PMID: 26260716; PMCID: PMC9923605.
- Tierney AL, Nelson CA 3rd. Brain Development and the Role of Experience in the Early Years. Zero Three. 2009 Nov 1;30(2):9-13. PMID: 23894221; PMCID: PMC3722610.
- Scribr. (n.a). A ‘million word gap’ for children who aren’t read to at home. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404074947.htm