The Importance of Reading to Your Child
What’s that very popular saying? “You’ll never get those years back.”
For many parents, this quote will probably be ringing in their ears every time they find out something new about the child or children.
There are many parents that miss their child's first steps or when they mumble their first words.
Even though you may miss out on those important moments, you can always make up for it by finding the time to read to your child.
Not only is this fantastic bonding for both of you, but it also means you feel like you are somewhat involved in their life.
We don’t think of a 3-6-month-old taking notice of books, do we?
However, even at this age a young baby is taking in the scenery, listening to the sound of your voice and able to point to different objects.
If you start drawing attention to different pictures and associating different words to match those pictures and real-world objects, very soon your child will start to understand the importance of language.
Believe it or not, children start to recognise the sound of language long before they notice printed words on a page.
By reading out loud to them (even at such a young age) starts to stimulate their imagination and gives them a better understanding of the world around them.
If you do this continuously, they will start to develop an understanding of language and also learn how to listen.
With the melody and rhythm of language, it starts to become such a big part of their life that in time, learning to read will be as natural as them learning how to crawl and then walk.
Even when your children learn to read, it’s still important to continue reading to them out loud together.
Be sure to pick a book that they like and stokes their interest.
Also, if you continue to expand the different ranges of topics and some words beyond their reading level you can help improve their understanding of more complex words, thus motivating them to improve their reading skills.
It’s Part of Life
By reading to your child at least once a day at a regularly scheduled time they start to get used you reading to them and will look forward to it.
Even if you skip a few days, don’t worry too much. It’s so easy to fall back into a schedule with children. The idea is to read to them as much as you can.
If you have more than one child, try to read to them exclusively (especially if they are more than 2 years apart). With that said, it all depends on the circumstances and where you are reading to them.
If it is the last thing at night, then independently is better, whereas after they have just finished lunch or dinner, it might be more convenient to read to them at the same time.
The key is to keep varying the books and content from time to time.
Most children enjoy multiples of different stories even if they are complex storylines. This encourages questions and stimulates problem-solving abilities.
Just One More
You will most probably go through that phase where your child wants you to read the same story over and over again. This isn’t unusual and your child won’t get bored. However, there’s a strong possibility that you might.
If this is the case, make an effort to read with as much enthusiasm as possible since your child has clearly chosen for you to re-read this for a reason. It’s normally because it speaks to their interest or emotional needs.
The key here is to be patient. You can still introduce them to new books and new stories as well as read their favourites.
At some point, they will get bored and will crave a new story. Until this happens, just keep persevering.
Talk about the story
Receiving numerous questions about a story should be music to your ears. It shows a deeper level of understanding or your child trying desperately to understand the meaning of the story.
Regularly telling good stories encourages your children to love reading even if there is a little conversation at first.
You find that often children want a few moments to think about the story that has just been read or even a few days later.
What they are doing is processing that information trying to make sense of it. That’s when your child will remember during a meal or watching TV.
If this is the case, take the time to answer them and any questions they may ask.
Setting Them Up To Succeed
Let’s be frank. The more information you provide for your child, the more information they will absorb.
No matter what age we are, more knowledge never did us any harm. In fact, this will arguably give them a headstart over their peers by taking the time to read to them early on.
Not only does this prepare them for school life. It also prepares them for life in general.
By encouraging and helping children to read early on is actually providing them with the much-needed skills to start reading on their own.
Studies have shown that children who enjoy reading do much better with literacy and also with languages.
This also helps with other unrelated classes they will take during the course of their school life.
Improves Their Concentration
A lot of parents think it is a waste of time reading to toddlers who just want to turn pages, swap books and throw them around.
However, this is one of the important periods when you should make an effort.
If you stick with it and persevere every day, you should find that your child will learn to concentrate and not get too distracted.
Each of the words you say will have some meaning now or later on (without you realising it).
This is certainly something that will help them later on in life. Especially with the multiple technologies and varied screens they will be subjected to later on in life.