Reading and storytelling are two important ways in which parents can help their child to foster brain development and imagination. Not only are these activities a form of bonding between the parents and the child, it also allows the child to be given a safe environment where language and emotions can be expressed without judgement.
A child’s language and literacy competence does not begin only at school. Home literacy environment is where a child first learns the language they require to make sense of the world that they live in. Other than speaking to your child constantly, reading is another way to boost this aspect.
It is not at all surprising that research has shown and proven that reading aloud, or shared reading, can improve your child’s cognitive development from infancy right up to adolescent.
What are some of the benefits of reading to your kids daily?
Reading is important to develop language skills
Speaking alone is not enough to widen the vocabulary level that children should acquire by the time they hit seven years old. Most of the time, a parent’s verbal interaction is often repetitive and they no longer really introduce their kids to new words.
With reading, vocabulary words are readily available in stories where you can expound on the meaning of the words through the pictures and your explanation. The exposure to different topics in different books also allows your children to gain the vocabulary words necessary for the topics they are interested in.
For families who are bilingual, this is an opportune time to read books in both languages to develop your children’s fluency and understanding of the languages.
Reading enhances a child’s concentration
Through stories, children are transported into a world that is different from the one they are currently in. Their imagination takes them to places so wild and incredible that they get lost in the story. When the love for reading is encouraged at a young age, it becomes second nature for children to pick up books when they are bored.
By reading to your children, you are teaching them to sit for a period of time until the book is over. While it may seem ridiculous to get a toddler who is only interested in flipping the pages or throwing the book out of your hand, the consistent routine will eventually register and you might find yourself with a willing participant in your read-aloud session.
Reading to young children sets the path for success in school
The more you read to your children, the more knowledge they will absorb before they even begin formal schooling. It is important that your child is able to follow your reading pace from left to right, word for word, so they can put the sound of the word to the text that they are seeing on their books. This will increase your child’s ability to recognise sight words easily without the need to sound them out phonetically as well.
Children who are read to from infancy have been studied to show a wider range of vocabulary and speech compared to their peers who have not had the chance to be read to frequently.
Books are a form of entertainment
Researchers have noted that extensive exposure to screen time, especially handheld devices like mobile phones and tablets, can lead to developmental delays in children. Young children below the age of 2 are encouraged to avoid screen time as much as they can.
In lieu of technology, books can be the next form of positive entertainment for children. Even if a child were to sit there and flip through a book quietly, he is already absorbing the print on the pages as well as the colourful illustrations that come with it.
Reading is a form of bonding between a parent and a child
Children regard the time they spend with their parents, whilst being read to, to be one of the greatest parts of their day. As parents go through the motions of the day to get everything completed, the attention you award your kids throughout the day may not be your best efforts to connect with them.
However, setting aside time at night to settle into a reading routine guarantees that private moment between you and your child, where nothing else should interrupt the special time you have. Shared reading also encourages parents to carve out time in their busy schedules to have dedicated quiet time with their child.
Of course, reading a bedtime story is also a great way to wind down and clear the slate at the end of the day. After all, of the most important moments in a child’s day is the moment before they fall asleep.
How can reading programmes help you to encourage your child to read?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may still find that your kids are not on par with their peers. Therefore, many parents reach out to various enrichment reading programmes to help their kids pick up the necessary skills to kickstart their reading process.
Learning phonics is widely encouraged in young children so that they have the skills to break down and decode words into smaller parts in order to sound the words out. For example, the MindChamps Reading and Writing programme is specifically catered to children 3 to 7 years old, with three different levels for your child’s learning needs to create a perfect fit for your child. In time to come, you will find that your child who was previously struggling to read has become an adept reader!
Written by Danielle Hee