If you thought the time you spent reading with your very small child might not be impacting them very much, you’d be selling yourself drastically short!
Experts confirm that reading with children from a very early age fosters all kinds of important skills that will set them in excellent stead for their entire lives.
Here are five excellent reasons to bust out the books.
5 things reading with your kids teaches them
1. That quality time with them matters
Making time to read together is not only a pleasurable and reliable ritual, it sends a message to your child that they’re an important priority – and that books are written to be shared. This helps promote a life-long love of reading and provides some imaginative and ever-changing common ground to bond over.
Executive editorial director at Scholastic, Liza Baker, agrees. Speaking to The Washington Post recently about the publisher’s Kids & Family Reading Report she confirmed that even for very tiny babies, sharing books signalled a special closeness and love of listening.
“It’s so important to start reading from Day One. The sound of your voice, the lyrical quality of the younger [books] are poetic … It’s magical, even at 8 weeks old they focus momentarily, they’re closer to your heart.”
While some little book-lovers are keen to explore fresh stories as often as possible and love discovering new characters, others will adore the reliable comfort of sharing the same favourites, time and again.
Whichever reading profile your child fits, know that that time spent reading offers the perfect cosy connection.
2. Being read to nurtures literacy skills
A recent study led by NYU’s Dr Carolyn Cates confirmed that reading with children from a very early age has long-lasting effects, even predicting their aptitude for reading and writing once they’ve started school.
Reading counts, from those very first days!
“Reading to young children, beginning even in early infancy, has a lasting effect on language, literacy and early reading skills,” she explained.
Dr Cates also revealed that the quality of books we read to infants impacts their reading skills in early childhood, so we should choose wisely. With toddlers it was both quality and quantity that impacted most – and predicted more established reading and writing skills, once kids hit primary school age.
In other words, read great books to/with your kiddos – and read them often! They’ll do better at school!
3. Books provide a sense of place and belonging
There’s a huge variety of books available for kids and they tackle pretty much every fathomable experience, idea and location.
This exciting range of stories helps you both explore diverse characters, concepts and settings. A carefully chosen book can also help confirm your child’s own sense of place – and mirror experiences they might be having. Seeing someone a lot like you in a book can help you get to know yourself a little better.
Shared stories bolster confidence and promote acceptance of ourselves – and others too!
4. Stories promote creative thinking
In stories, anything is possible and as plot twists play out, your child becomes aware of all the possibilities life can offer up.
Not only is this an exciting realisation when it comes to books, it translates into real life too, encouraging your child to think creatively and use their imagination with abandon.
Characters that only exist in books jump off the page and into the inner lives of children. The stories you share with your child fuel their imagination and broaden their view of the world. They might even come up with their own plot twists.
5. There’s more to life than screens!
As wonderful as the internet is, there’s more to life than screens! Offering your child books as often as possible, instead of tablets or a smartphone is a reward-reaping no-brainer for most parents and carers.
While some might argue that kids like reading on digital devices, recent research tells us that kids actually prefer good old books to reading on a screen.
There’s also data to suggest that kids are extra-inspired when they see others reading books. So if you needed another excuse, science really wants you to bust out the books, as often as you can, and model excellent reading behaviour. Your ever-watching kids will reap the rewards.