Latest posts by Rania El Turk (see all)
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Whenever someone asks me about reading aloud to children, I get very animated, my eyes light up and I begin spouting off all sorts of things I learned through countless years of both reading and reading about kids’ books. More often than not, I can go on, and on and on….and on! So, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to narrow things down into a concise list of just FIVE top reasons why I think everyone should start reading to their kids, like immediately. I did manage to pare it down though, for the sake all us busy moms and dads out there, so here goes!
- Language development: This one always strikes me as the most straightforward reason of all, so I’m starting with it. I mean, after all, the more words you hear, the more words you know. But here’s the catch: books contain 50% more rare words than everyday speech, television or radio. This means that in order to expand your child’s word exposure in terms of quality and quantity, you should reach for a book. Also, research shows that there’s a direct relationship between the amount of words a child hears at the age of 8 months, and the amount of words they know at the age of three years. So, if you’d like to help your kids’ language development along, one of the best things you could do is to enjoy a book together.
- A Stronger Relationship with Mom and Dad: Families who read together stay together. Ok, I’m stretching things a bit much here, but there is something to be said about reading aloud as a great bonding activity. Just think of cuddling your baby as you point to pictures, make funny noises and giggle together. Setting aside some quality reading time every evening is a great way to reconnect with your kids after a long and hectic day.
- Dealing with New/ Difficult Situations: Books are a wonderful way to start a conversation. There are books out there that deal with almost any subject you can think of, and they’re a great way to help your child prepare for a new situation, process something they’re going to, or just open up about something they’re dealing with. About to start potty training? There’s a book for that. Preschool? There’s a book for that? New sibling? There’s a book for that… you get the picture.
- School Readiness and Academic Excellence: Children who are read to when they’re babies are more likely to begin school ready to learn. They will have been exposed to the basics of how language works as well as things like numbers, colors, categories… Research shows that children who grow up with a love of books tend to do better academically. When you think about how we access knowledge, and how reading is essential to our ability to access knowledge, it fits.
- A Love of Reading: We saved the best for last! Kids who are read to when they’re young, who learn to associate books positive experiences and who enjoy books grow up to become readers. If you want to instill a love of reading in your little ones, then it’s really never too early to start.
Reading aloud with your child is definitely a wonderful opportunity to bond and share the love of books. As the poet Stickland Gillilan said, “You may have tangible wealth untold, caskets of jewels and coffers of gold, richer than I you can never be, I had a Mother who read to me”.