The importance of reading to your children

Read to them! The importance of reading aloud to your children.

By: Stephanie Lopraino, B.A Ed

If you want your child to thrive then read to them. It’s that simple. It is probably the most important thing a parent can do. It’s never too early to start. We know that babies can hear in the womb and by week 25 is the perfect time to start reading. Reading aloud stimulates all the baby’s senses and improves their brain development.

Children’s author, Dr. Seuss was thrilled to discover a study that found that babies in utero were more active during readings and then gradually settled down after the reading of his book The Cat in the Hat. The most amazing finding is that the response to the reading in pregnancy continued after birth, concluding that babies remembered hearing the story before.Reading aloud to babies is the foundation for their language development. The more exposure to reading, the better the child will be able to talk and also more likely to learn to read at the right time and do well in school.

When children are read to daily with joy and closeness, they begin to associate books with happiness and budding readers are created. In addition children’s self-esteem grows as they experience the security of having a loved-one read to them.

Reading aloud builds on their listening skills, language skills, vocabulary and memory. It is important that reading doesn’t come across as a tedious chore. It’s important to show excitement and curiosity. Choose books that you are confident reading. Find a comfortable spot and relax. Feel free to mix it up and make it fun. As you enjoy the moment, you are a model to your child. Involve your child in the reading.  They can hold the book, turn the pages, make sounds, repeat words, make predictions and ask and answer questions. You want to engage your child. Go ahead and use your hands, facial expressions and movements.

Reading also develops imagination and creativity. Your kids will eventually begin to develop individual interests and not to mention all the amazing things that can be learned from books. Young children learn about important concepts like letters, shapes and colors and move on to learning all about the world around them. Most importantly your children will learn the pure joy of reading.

If your child won’t sit still or doesn’t seem to enjoy reading time, don’t give up. Be persistent. Start small and try different approaches until you find what works for you and your child. As children become independent readers, it doesn’t have to stop there. Continue to model good reading skills. If you could do just one thing to prepare your children for success, it’s reading! In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that your learn, the more places you’ll go.”

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