If you are a new age parent you have probably already heard about the benefits of reading to your child. In fact, even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) makes a strong effort to talk about the importance of reading to babies and toddlers as a way to promote early literacy skills. These efforts have led to a rising trend in reading to kids among millennial parents.
“Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime,” the AAP says.
Let’s look at this topic more in-depth and understand why educators and child development experts stress on reading aloud to kids.
BENEFITS OF READING TO BABIES AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
- Bond with parent
Reading aloud to babies helps parents bond with their babies. Reading helps soothe the child and build the foundation for trust in the parent. The parent is giving direct attention to the baby through the act of reading aloud and infants notice this.
- Early reading kickstarts language skills
A big importance of reading at an early age is the effect reading has on developing early language skills. Babies are noticing tone, inflections, and rhythms in voice. Research shows that reading aloud from an early age leads to developing early language and vocabulary.
- Helps eyes to track and focus on visuals
An infant has blurred vision and daily reading can help them focus on strong contrasting visuals in books providing the necessary input for eyesight development. That is why many experts recommend reading books with high contrast or black and white images to babies.
- Cognitive development
Introducing books at an early age lays the foundation for future cognitive skills like reasoning, problem-solving, and memory building. Early reading benefits not only language development but also helps literacy skills in the future such as writing, reading and math.
- Introduces the child to the concept of reading
They say practice makes one perfect. The same applies here, the more a child is read to the more will he learn to read in the future. Before they learn to read independently they need to be equipped with a large vocabulary. Setting a reading routine is crucial to make the child understand that books are a form of communication. They contain pictures and words that mean something. It is never too early or late starting to read to your child, as long as you read.
BENEFITS OF READING TO TODDLERS
- Introduces emotions and feelings
Reading stories introduces the child to different emotions and feelings. Watching the character go through emotions helps the toddler understand his own. This, in turn, helps with better communication since they now recognize the emotion and can express it to their parent.
- Sparks creativity
Reading books helps the child understand concepts, ignite imagination and creativity. They spark a whole new series of questions getting the child to think about and express feelings and ideas.
- As a form of entertainment
One of the biggest benefits of reading to toddlers is the use of books as a form of entertainment. Keeping kids engaged in books reduces screentime. Not only is reading helping the child to learn how to focus and engage in deep work, it keeps over stimulating modes of entertainment like electronic toys and screen use to a minimum.
- Enhances language development
Not only does early reading kickstart language skills it also helps improve language skills. Reading short stories regularly helps a toddler understand the finer nuances of conversation through tone and inflection. They begin to hold effective conversation themselves.
- Using books to teach life skills
Toddlers need to feel included in the adult world at the same time feeling as competent as the adults around them. Using books about bedtime routines, daily routines, ones showcasing expected behaviors, helps a toddler grasp these concepts faster.
By now they are deeply invested and engaged in the reading habit and want to mimic the characters they read about.
I have found books useful in teaching my son everything from helping mommy with chores, to brushing teeth, having a bath. When he sees these characters do these things in the books he reads, he wants to follow along and do it himself.
Books can also be used as an introduction to your culture or language. These days there are toddler storybooks on almost every subject and language.
Must have books for toddlers
Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?
Polar bear, polar bear what do you see?
HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD INTERESTED IN READING?
- Start with a routine
The easiest way to get your child interested in reading is by including reading as a part of your daily routine. Include bedtime reading or morning reading sessions or both. Make books your go-to activity as you move along the day. Once kids get used to this one on one time with you, they themselves remind you about books.
- Books everywhere
Another smart tip to encourage reading and interest in books is to create a small reading nook for your child. Include a big basket or bookshelf that is easily accessible to the child and a mat or chair to sit on.
Leave books in different corners of the house from your coffee table to the bedside table.
The key here is, the books need to be accessible to the child.
Once placed in different locations of the house, the books catch their attention and they like finding something familiar in different corners of the house.
- Model the behavior
Read with your child or make it a point that your child sees you read. As with everything else in parenting, when the parents act as a model for a certain behavior, it catches on faster with the kids.
- Diverse topics and styles
To keep your child constantly engaged, buy books in different formats – board books, cloth books, paperbacks, pop out books, and busy books.
Include different topics in terms of the subject of books. Here are some age-appropriate book lists for your kids.
I hope this article helps you get into a reading routine with your child and reinforces the importance of reading to babies. What benefits of reading did you experience with your child?
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16 thoughts on “10 Eye-opening Benefits Of Reading To Your Child”
We are a big reading family. My mom was a school librarian for years so we grew up with it and I am getting my children to love reading as well.
That’s so nice your mom instilled the love of reading to her kids. The reading habit benefits in many ways and our children need this gift.
A very informative post. In India, many parents still do not read out to the child. Toys and gadgets are still the main attraction for today’s toddlers. Hope your post will act as an eye-opener for them. Will love to share this post.
Yes, parents in India largely rely on toys and educational apps as a teaching tool. Reading contributes immensely to cognitive skills and success in later life. Hopefully, we can revive the love of books for our kids.
Hi Ophira, very useful post for new parents. I agree, there are many benefits of reading to your child, as I have discovered myself. It is extremely useful for parents of single child and who live in nuclear family.
Yes Anshu, even for us it’s a great screen-free activity. And all the research proves how beneficial reading to kids is, all the more motivation to encourage the reading habit.
great write up! I am in a process trying to read books to my toddler, and make him realize books are to read not chewing up ☺ .
haha, it does take consistency and routine to get them to realize that there are letters and words in the books that tell stories. But believe me, once they are hooked, its hard to get that love of books out of them.
I introduced my toddler to books and reading few months ago. This is also our bonding time. Besides, this is one of the ways that I hope to pass on my love for reading to him. Great post.
That’s wonderful Sonia! I am so glad you are nurturing the reading habit early on. All the best 🙂
Great post, Ophira. Very useful tips the new parents.
Yes to all of this goodness! Reading is such an important form of self-care and plays a huge roll in cognitive development. What a wonderful gift to give to your child. I will forever be grateful for all the times my mom read to me :). And I am a bookworm to this day. Thanks for sharing this important message and awesome tips!
Thank-you Sara! Reading surely helps in the cognitive development of little ones. Stories spark our imaginative sides and creativity. And ultimately it is this creativity that we use in practical applications in the real world. Nice to know you appreciate books just as much as I do. Thank you for commenting and taking time to read my blog 🙂
I love that you suggested getting books of different genres to keep him engaged with reading. With that in mind, I will probably start shopping this weekend for him to start reading. I just wanted him to be used to books before he starts holding a mobile device so that he will not be too hooked with mobile games in the future.
That is what I want to try and do too. Keep books at the front so that hopefully the gadget use will remain minimal.