Our children spend more than 80% of their time outside of school, which means that their intellectual thirst for knowledge doesn’t stop when they leave school grounds. Even before your child reaches school-age, they can still benefit by you reading aloud to them while they follow along. Over time, you will find that your child will remember the basis of the story and then shortly after will learn to distinguish which words mean what on the page. How quickly your child transitions through these developmental stages all depends on how much time and effort is prioritized for reading. Let’s review the various research that shows how reading can boost your child’s development and supplement their life in more ways than one.
Reading is Fundamental
Research shows that specific areas of the brain are affected when young children have reading exposure at home from an early age. These areas are critical for a child’s language development. A wide vocabulary can boost your child’s reading comprehension and increase their school performance as they become more aware of what is happening in the world around them and find it easier to keep up in class.
Reading to young children affects their brain activity and may just give them that boost they need to also support and promote their early reading skills. There have many studies that show reading to babies and toddlers gives them a head start and helps to prepare them for school later down the line. In fact, it was shown that children who were read to before age two and had access to a good supply of children's books had a vocabulary that is almost twice that of those who have less books at home and who were only read aloud to after 4 years of age.
Real-Life Social Scenarios
Reading and playing both help to shape cognitive, social, and emotional development in young children, but it is the power of the parent that helps to nurture their flourishing development. In reading and playing, children can encounter situations a little more challenging than what they usually come across in everyday life, and adults can help them think about how to manage those situations. So when you read or play with your child, you’re essentially helping them learn to control their own behavior in the moment. Isn’t that amazing?!
Consistently reading to your child every day gives them the ability to learn how to concentrate and sit still for longer periods of time, which can help later on when they go to school. Reading to your child will also lead to questions about the book and the information within. It gives you a chance to speak about what is happening and use this as a learning experience. Your child will have an opportunity to think about characters and about their feelings. This is incredibly important for children to learn words that correlate with anger or sadness as it allows them to describe their feelings that are otherwise difficult for them to articulate. As such, reading helps your child develop their emotional intelligence which enables them to better control their behavior when they are experiencing challenging feelings. This will help them become more empathetic leaders in the future.
The fact remains that the more you read to your children, the more knowledge they absorb, and knowledge is important in all aspects of life. With all of the negative effects of screen time, choosing a book that interests your child, and either reading it together, or letting them flick through pages alone, is definitely a better option.