Top 10 Reasons to Read with Your Child
As a parent educator, I consistently work with busy parents who spend most of the day navigating their and their children’s busy schedules. Getting to work each morning can require a 1-2 hour commute via bus or car. Throw in dropping off children at child care, working long hours, and the long commute home and parents are wiped once they are home in the evening with their children. It’s exhausting to think of adding anything extra to the already hectic daily routine.
While it may seem time-consuming, reading with your child for 15 minutes per day can show significant long-term benefits. Below are some advantages that highlight the importance of reading to your child.
- A Stronger Bond: Reading is an activity that will bring you and your child closer together. It is a time when you’re focusing on no one else, and nothing else, but them. It is also virtually impossible to read aloud to your child while also texting and checking e-mails. The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents during reading encourages children to form a positive association with books.
- Better Thinking Skills: Ask your child, “Why did he do that?” “What’s going to happen next?” “Where did she go?” Have a conversation about the book after you’ve finished.
- Larger Vocabulary: The more children are read to, the larger their vocabularies will grow. The number of words a child knows when they enter kindergarten predicts their future academic success.
- Fostering Empathy: Reading to your little one about the experiences of others is a great way to develop empathy. For example, when reading a book involving a school bully, children learn to empathize with others. Process what the characters were feeling. “Why was he feeling sad?” “How would you feel if that happened to you?”
- Exploring Creativity: Reading aloud lets children’s imaginations run wild! Reading exposes them to people, places, times, and cultures beyond their own experiences.
- Normalizing Experiences: Reading can show children that they are not alone in their experiences. With older children, talk about the plot and relate it back to their own lives. Read books to toddlers and preschoolers about daily routines such as using the toilet, washing hands, and taking a bath.
- Increased Intelligence: Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning. Kids who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books over video games, TV, and other forms of entertainment as they grow older.
- It Becomes a Routine: Routines help children feel safe, secure, and know what to expect. Reading together every night before bedtime lets children know what to expect after the book has been read. “First we take a bath. Then, we get on our jammies and brush our teeth. Next, we snuggle in bed and read a book. After that, it’s sleepy time!”
- Reading Is FUN: Be silly! Use different voices and expressions for the characters. Moo like a cow or start a repetitive phrase and wait for your child to chime in. Find books with different textures, flaps to lift, and tabs to pull. The giggles you share when reading silly stories together are invaluable!
- Reading is free: Thanks to public libraries, reading to your child doesn’t cost a thing. For busy parents on the go, reading doesn’t just have to take place before bed each evening. Read everywhere! Busy parents can read to their child while waiting at the doctor’s office, on the bus, and while waiting in line. Reading is an amazing way to invest in your child. As a parent, you have the power to foster your child’s learning potential just by reading aloud with them. It’s never too early, or too late, to begin reading with your child.
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