Dr. Seuss says it best, “The more you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Whether they’re old enough to read to themselves or you’re reading to them, reading opens up a world of learning for children. And the benefits don’t just end there! Read on for a look at four top reasons to read with your kids.
Reason 1: Reading builds basic speech, reading and communication skills.
As toddlers and in preschool, little ones are learning critical language skills, including how to sound out words. When your child hears you read, the basic sounds that make up language become clearer in his or her mind.
That process continues as children begin to “pretend read” with jibber jabber and then when they begin sounding out words on their own.
People aren’t born automatically knowing to read from left to right and top to bottom. Reading with your kids beginning early in life helps them innately understand these basic reading skills, which prepares them for school.
One less obvious benefit to reading — children learn how to relate to others and communicate by hearing about (and seeing pictures of) characters in books doing the same thing.
Reason 2: Reading enhances your child’s ability to concentrate.
When you first start to sit down with your child to read, he or she is likely to squirm, get distracted, try to escape and even go off to play with toys. But after a while, kids learn to sit still during reading time and immerse themselves in the story.
While enjoying reading time, kids build self-discipline, a longer attention span and a stronger memory.
Reason 3: Reading helps stimulate your child’s brain development.
When you read to them or they read to themselves, kids are building all sorts of skills. But research shows that their brains are actually also actively developing during that time.
A 2015 study conducted by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that, while being read to, children’s brains are in overdrive — in a very good way. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers saw that while kids simply listen, there is an increase in their brain activity, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for understanding the meaning of language.
Other research has shown that kids who are exposed to books at a young age benefit from a better vocabulary, higher literacy and readiness to attend school.
Reason 4: Reading strengthens the bond between parents and kids.
You probably already cherish the moments where your growing child crawls up in your lap to sit. What better way to experience more of those moments than to regularly read with your little one?
Time slows down while you read, allowing you to take a break from your everyday to-do list and cuddle with your child. And while you cuddle, you’re helping your child build lifelong skills and develop the knowledge that reading is fun!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading to children beginning at birth. Check out their guide to reading to babies.
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