grandmother reading to children
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Reading helps build a strong relationship with children.

Benefits of Reading to Your Child

Thinking back on raising my own children, one of my most treasured memories is that of reading bedtime stories to them. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that it signaled the end to what seem to have been endless hectic days or the calming effect reading had on three rambunctious kids, or simply the fact that I personally love reading. In the beginning the benefit for me, as the parent, was the pure joy of a moment’s escape to the land of Mother Goose, Beatrix Potter or Dr. Seuss… but the benefit for my children was much more powerful. Research shows that reading to young children stimulates brain development, lays the foundations for language and literacy, and prepares children for academic success.

Here are 10 wonderful reasons why you should read to your children early on:

  1. Builds a strong relationship with you—cuddling with a book allows you to slow down and enjoy the time you spend together. It helps the child to see reading as a nurturing activity that brings the two of you closer.
  2. Academic success—a higher aptitude for learning is one of the primary benefits of reading to young children. Studies show that students exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education.
  3. Teaches critical spoken language and enunciation skills—as your child listens to you read they are reinforcing the basic sounds that form language. You can see early signs of pre-literacy activity when your toddler squeals and jabbers as he pretends to read a book.
  4. Teaches your child the basics of how to read a book—a child isn’t born knowing that text is read from left to right, that words on a page have meaning or that they are made up of letters separated by a space. These are all pre-reading skills that a child learns when you read to them.
  5. Develops better communication skills—as you spend time reading to toddlers they become more likely to express themselves in healthy ways (i.e. fewer tantrums). They gain valuable communication skills by listening to the interactions of the characters in the story.
  6. Helps them master their language—children gain a better grasp of the fundamentals of language as they approach school age when they are read to as toddlers.
  7. Teaches them more logical and thinking skills—the more you read to your child the more they are able to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect and utilize good judgment.
  8. Teaches how to deal with emotional or stressful situations—reading books about difficult or stressful experiences can be a way to start a conversation to ease your child’s fears. If they are nervous about starting school, reading a story dealing with this topic can show her that her anxiety is normal.
  9. Develops better concentration and discipline—most toddlers squirm and easily become distracted but eventually they learn to sit for the duration of the book. This helps with reading comprehension, stronger self-discipline, longer attention span and better memory retention—skills that will benefit children as they go to school.
  10. Instills a love for reading—children develop a passion for books and reading. Children who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books over video games, television and other forms of entertainment as they grow older.

As a parent, reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to prepare him for academic excellence.

For more information:

The Magic of Reading with Young Children

Types of Books to Read to Young Children

Last updated July 21, 2015