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A lot of us parents worry whether we’re doing the right things. Are we really helping our kids grow to their potential? Or is there something else we should be doing.
A whole industry has been based on this worry. However, of all the things that actually have very little impact on the lives of our kids, there is one thing we can do each day that can give our kids a massive boost:
it’s reading out loud to them.
7 benefits of reading aloud to kids
It promotes language development
One of the big benefits of reading out loud to a child is that it promotes language development.
Reading out loud makes kids familiar with a wide variety of vocabulary, complex sentence structures, saying and cultural background. You might think that they learn this during conversation as well, but the fact of the matter is that we humans are very lazy speakers.
Especially when speaking to kids there are a lot of phrases and words we would never use. Reading to them expands their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge exponentially, which will help kids with their studies and understanding new information for the rest of their lives.
It builds a lifelong interest in reading
Another benefit of reading out loud to your child is that by getting into books at an early age, kids tend to develop a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.
Reading books is a great way to gather information and learn new things. A lifelong love of books often means a lifelong love of learning new things and keeping the brain busy. In turn, this increases the brain’s health.
Reading aloud expands imagination
As well as creativity. Through reading out loud kids get to know new worlds and situation they would otherwise never encounter. It introduces them to ideas they were not familiar with before. Reading out loud also introduces kids to the solutions for the challenges posed in the story. This expands the context and problem-solving skills they have.
It increases empathy
Another important aspect of the many benefits of reading out loud to your kids is that through the story they learn what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. They get to hear and experience what it feels like to be in a given situation. This helps to develop empathy and understanding of other people.
It helps kids get a handle on new situations
Do you know those intelligence tests where you are given a little story to read and then have to answer questions about it? Anyone who’s ever had to do an assessment has probably done such a test. That is exactly what kids have to do when they are being read to. They hear a new story and have to develop the understanding of what is going on in that story. Reading out loud to your child regularly helps kids to develop the skill to quickly understand and assess new situation.
It instills moral lessons
Adding to the benefits of reading out loud to a child is that through the story kids learn important moral lessons. It’s a playful manner to teach kids about the morals and values we parents keep talking about. They learn that there are very serious consequences to, for instance, lying and cheating, without personallly having to experience the fallout. Often enough, kids listen much better to other resources than there parents. A story that they can get involved in is a great way to instill some moral lessons.
It’s a great way to have some quality time
A direct benefit of reading out loud to kids is that you have some wonderful quality time with the kids every day. It’s amazing how long even very young children will sit still and listen to a good story. Reading out loud is a fantastic way to have a little bonding moment with the kids.
Tips for reading to kids
Research has shown that you don’t have to read to your kids for hours each day to get the desired results. With just 15 minutes per day you can make a huge difference to your child.
- Become a library member; in a lot of countries it’s free and kids love to scour the library in search of new stories.
- Pick a set time each day to read; for instance at bedtime. You can make it part of the bedtime ritual.
- Leave the books where you’ll see them; out of sight is out of mind.
- Make it fun for both of you; use a dramatic voice, whisper and shout, turn it into a show.
- Include games and add-ons, such as this felt board template that goes with Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do you See? another favorite of ours 🙂
- Snuggle together; turning it into a bonding and memorie-making event will make reading more likely to happen again.
How do you like to read?
Have any tips of your own to read more to the kids? Share them in the comments?
And what are your favorite kids books? We’re always looking for more titles to read!