It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of reading to children. Whether you are a parent concerned about laying a foundation for the rest of your child’s pursuit of learning endeavors or are an educator building the infrastructure to establish a base for knowledge, reading is crucial to a child’s developmental success.
Reading to children should be an important function begun at a very early age. The Department of Education suggests that you begin reading to your child at six months but it is never too early to begin reading to your child!
Stories of reading to babies still in the womb are not uncommon and in addition to engendering a caring relationship prior to birth, also establishes a pattern of reading that becomes second nature after the child is delivered.
You can’t read to children too much. The more you read to your child, the more you will motivate your child to ask questions, learn about the issues that will affect them, and encourage critical thinking necessary for their future development and success.
At an early age (before four years old), read out loud children’s books that support general knowledge such as books that emphasize types of animals like “Charlottes Web,” or fun, rhyming books like Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat.” These are entertaining books that allow you to interact with children by acting out the various characters and their roles in the book.
Later, as the child develops specific interests, encourage reading by providing childrens books that focus on those subjects. Young children often find gender specific interests garner their attention, such as sports for boys and fashion for girls. These interests provide a great starting point to further develop a child’s interest in learning. Cultivate these areas of interest because they will lead to an expansion of reading.
The importance of reading to children can be found in the development of fundamental skills. Reading encourages listening abilities and these, in turn, stress comprehension and critical thinking. Taking time to read to children allows you to actively participate in these life skills and provides a barometer by which to measure their development in these areas.
As you read to the child, stop and ask questions to see if they are listening and comprehending what they hear. Capture their attention by being animated in the subject matter. The importance of reading to children must motivate you to be completely immersed in the task at hand and you will find that your enthusiasm will be contagious to your child.
Another area that shows the importance of reading to children is in the area of vocabulary and language skills. Reading to children from qualified books exposes them to proper sentence structure and builds on their word base by introducing new vocabulary and concepts.
The importance of reading to children can be measured by the fundamental foundation it provides for all further learning. To help establish a path for academic and educational success, read often to your child and make yourself available to share this fun activity as much as possible.
You will find that reading to a child is a rewarding endeavor for both of you.