The Importance of Reading to Children

It must be obvious to any parent that reading to children is very important. Actually, it is the best way to put them on their road to success academically and personally.

The best thing about reading to children is that all of us can do it. We don’t have to be authors or rocket scientists or millionaires to snuggle up with our children on the sofa and enjoy a special story.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents should read to their child every day. Reading, they say, stimulates the development of the brain and the language center, and also stimulates a closer emotional relationship with the child. They advise that you can best start with this from the day that the baby is born!

Newborns and infants just love the voice of their mother or father. It really doesn’t matter what they are reading – a fairy tale, the sports section in the newspaper, a recipe from a cookbook… It is enough that they experience the togetherness of baby and you.

Nowadays parents lead a busy life, and lots of them don’t make time for reading to their children anymore. Yet they should make time for it. If you are pressed for time, why not read something while you are waiting with your kids at the dentist, or when you all have a treat at a restaurant, or instead of watching the news while you are cooking? When you take the children to school (or they go by bus), why not tape a story one of you read and have them play it? It doesn’t take a lot to be creative in finding opportunities to read to your children!

In my experience, you can notice the difference between a child that’s come into contact with books (at first read to them) and those who did not have the opportunity. A child that is used to hearing stories (and later on reads them) will be a lot more creative, and their general knowledge will be better as well. Good teachers will also realize that reading to children is very important. They read aloud in the classroom. You can even do this in high school, and find your students mesmerized by the power of the story you are reading to them.

Parents don’t necessarily have to be alone in understanding the importance of reading to children. School plays a key role as well, but also daycare givers and baby-sitters should take time to read something to their charges. Why not ask older brothers and sisters to step in? They can easily read a story to their younger sibling (I remember how I loved to do that) and stimulate their love for reading.

In some case, this love for reading will even go further. Just check with every bestselling author and you’ll find out that he or she has been reading since they were six or seven years old and had stories read to them.


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