Why Reading to Your Children is So Important

Why Reading to Your Children is So Important
Posted on 10/13/2022

Why Reading to Your Kids is So Important
By: Christine Harper

            This month’s Eugene Field Family Literacy Challenge is to read aloud to your children of all ages!  Reading aloud not only increases the joy factor but also allows children to hear a model of a confident reader.  And the family time is definitely a bonus!  There are so many positive things that come out of reading to your children, and it should start at a very young age, as early as one year old!

            Let’s break this down.  Reading to your young child helps develop cognitive skills, which is the ability to think and understand, including remembering, problem solving, and decision making.  And it’s not just the story in the book, it’s the conversation you have with your kiddo while reading the book.  During these moments of reading and talking, brain cells are activated, new brain cells are formed, and connections are made.

            Another huge benefit to reading with your child is improved language skills.  This includes the development of a larger vocabulary, improvement of communication skills, improvement of social skills, and eventually their ability to read on their own.  And all of this before they ever start kindergarten.  PBS.org stated, “The more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten.  The more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school.” 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than one in three American children start kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read.  As a result, by the end of third grade, roughly two-thirds of children can’t read proficiently.”

Other benefits of reading to your child include increased concentration and discipline, improved imagination and creativity, cultivation of a lifelong love of reading, and the creation of a bond between parent/guardian and child that will last a lifetime.

Start early (the younger the better) and read often, daily if possible.  Read the pictures and have a conversation about what the pictures say.  Press the pause button.  Turn a 5-minute read into a 15-minute opportunity to bond.  The laundry will just have to wait, because this is important.  Take some family time and visit our local library.  The selection of books is endless.

Reading is the key for lifelong learning, and if you (the parent/guardian) can instill that love of reading at an early age, it sets up so many opportunities for your child to be successful.  Reading aloud to your young child is the single-most important activity you can do to develop those essential skills that they will carry with them all throughout their life.