Most parents would agree that reading aloud to children is fun, but some may not be aware of its many other benefits. Whether you are a new parent or have been reading to your child since they were born, it’s essential to know the facts about why this simple activity is so vital. Keep reading for a closer look at the pros of reading to children and the importance of choosing books that reflect their identity.
March is National Reading Month, a time to encourage readers of all ages to recognize the importance of reading. Reading to children at any age increases vocabulary development, improves cognitive functioning and memory, and — especially when they can relate to inspiring characters — even enhances confidence in academic performance.
Reading Aloud to Children Increases Their Vocabulary
First, it makes sense to discuss the benefits of reading to our children when they are infants. More specifically, parents who start reading to children early in their lives can significantly impact their vocabulary. Some notable evidence:
- Babies who are read to daily by parents have larger vocabulary usage by age 3.
- Children starting pre-school often have better verbal communication skills if they were read to early in life.
Reading to Kids Helps With Academic Success
You’ll have peace of mind when the time comes for kindergarten registration if you’ve been reading to your kids regularly. It’s always been said that a child’s first teacher is their parent. Reading aloud to your kids early in life exposes them to listening and communication skills that will be vital when they start elementary school. Children will learn the five components of literacy when they start school (phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency), but getting a jumpstart by modeling good reading practices will have a substantial impact as well.
Book Selection: Diversity Matters
When selecting books to read to your child, it’s important to introduce them to characters who reflect themselves and the diverse world around them. Consider this list of some of the best picture books featuring girls of color. Another roundup features main characters of color in STEM or leadership roles.
Foster a Love of Reading for Older Kids
Remember, reading to children at any age is beneficial, not just for our youngest ones. Less than 20 percent of kids between ages 9 and 11 are read to daily by their parents, but it’s an activity nearly all of them enjoy.
Showing your enthusiasm for a variety of books can help spark your kids’ interest. At the same time, you will be modeling fluent reading behaviors that they can apply in school. Studies prove that reading to children at any age builds long-term confidence not only in school but in life. At Sallie B Howard School of Arts & Science, we are proud to partner with you to help your child develop a lifelong love of reading.