How often should you read to your child?
Sharing your favorite book from your childhood with your kids is a unique and rewarding experience, as watching a child learn to read can be one of the proudest moments in a young parent’s life. Reading with your kids daily is not only a deep bonding experience for both parent and child, it also instills good habits into your children that will last throughout their entire lives. Seemingly countless statistics are rattled off about how children who were read to grow up to be more successful in school, but why is this? What benefits does daily reading give a child? Some are obvious, but some might surprise you.
There has been a lot on the news recently about child obesity, and while keeping your child active is important, it is just as important to make sure that they are breaking a mental sweat too. When you read, you are forced to concentrate harder and your intelligence is put to the test. This is because nobody’s brain is designed specifically to read. Reading happens when we mix different neurological functions, such as sight, language comprehension, and associative learning, and derive a message from letters and words. To top it off, reading prompts us to go as slow as we need to so that we can wrap our minds around the story and ask questions about it, really utilizing our mental capacity. All of this keeps the mind sharp, the wit quick, and preserves memory.
Children are as absorptive as sponges and as pliable as playdough, and the things that they learn as toddlers reinforce who
they will become as they sprout into adolescents and eventually adults. The earlier they are exposed to proper enunciation of words, widened vocabularies, and varying sentence structures, the more likely they are to grasp these concepts and utilize them as they develop and grow. In fact, if you are reading to a toddler, or if she is flipping through a book on her own, and you notice her making noises such as coos and squeals, she is actually practicing the techniques that will allow her to speak. By associating books with language, and by talking about the stories you read together (once they are able to talk, of course), your child will develop advanced communication skills that will stick with them for life.
As mentioned before, studies have shown that pre-k children exposed to books generally do better when they get into school. This might be attributed to the way that reading will hone a child’s ability to concentrate and pay attention. A good attention span is an essential ingredient in the recipe for accomplishment. The other ingredient is confidence, and children who read build confidence when they relate to stories that reflect their own situations. Connecting their experiences with others’ will allow children to build a positive outlook on life and step into new situations with an air of self-assuredness. A person’s drive to achieve is created through confidence and concentration, two elements that can be cultivated by early-age reading.