Most people have incredibly fond memories of books from their childhood. Maybe there was one book in particular that you read over and over. Or maybe it was the experience of going to the library and having shelf after shelf of books at the ready for you. Or perhaps it was spending time with a special loved one, reading together. One way or another, reading touches most of us on an emotional level.
But there are some very practical reasons to read to and with your children, starting from a very young age. Some of these include:
- School Success – Research shows that children who are exposed to reading early, before preschool, have a greater likelihood of achieving success in all areas of education down the road.
- Speech Skills – By reading to a child from infancy, you are helping that child to develop their language and enunciation skills. They hear the sounds and “replicate” with their own version, thereby encouraging them to start sounding out words on their own. You are also helping to expand their vocabulary in age appropriate ways. Additionally, this will help children to learn ways to express themselves and their feelings/emotions.
- Reading Structure – Reading at an early age helps children to become familiar with how stories work and to develop a sense of logic as to what type of thing may happen next in a story. It also helps to establish an understanding of cause and effect, without having to experience the events first hand.
- Situational Exposure – Through books, you can expose your child to potentially stressful situations in a more relaxed environment. Whether it’s introducing toilet training or laying the ground work for starting a new school, books can help you discuss the situation in a “safe” zone, before they dive head long into it. Again, they can share their feelings, fears and concerns about the situation and by reading about others who have been through that situation with success, can feel more at ease.
- Special Time – One of the nicest benefits to reading with your small child is just the time you spend together and the foundation you are establishing for them of a lifetime of loving to read. Reading with your child does not have to end once they can read to themselves. It can, and should, continue to be a shared event. It provides an opportunity for conversation in a quiet situation. And by establishing a pattern of “choosing to read” from a very early age, you are helping to create a lifelong reader who sees reading as fun.
Reading is a “win-win” for everyone. Children thrive by being read to early and often and parents reap the benefits of watching their children grow and having that special, quiet time with their kids. So pick up a book, grab your child, and start reading.