Bath, books, brush teeth, bed. If this bedtime routine sounds like the one you have with your child, that’s great! Reading books should be a daily staple in every child’s household. Story time is one of the best ways you boost your child’s brain development! It’s never too early (or too late) to start a routine of reading with your child so he or she can reap the benefits. In fact, some parents read to their children before they are even born! From growing your child’s spoken vocabulary to improving social skills, here are just a few of the many benefits of reading to your child.
Books Build Bonds
The days may be long and chaotic, but if bedtime books are a consistent part of your child’s day it can be comforting to him or her. Curling up with a story or two of your child’s choice can improve bonding. Sharing a story gives you and your a child time to talk and imagine together.
Reading Improves Language Skills
Reading can help your child understand and use more words! Your child will learn words and their meaning when you point to pictures as you name them and read the words of a story. Stories can take your child to places he or she has never been! And that means they might expose your child to new words not seen or heard in daily life.
More stories can mean more speaking! Books can improve your child’s spoken language. By encouraging your child to imitate sounds or words from books and doing things like reading the same books repetitively or pausing for your child to fill in the blanks during lines in books, he or she can improve speech skills. Exposure to books also helps children learn how to put words together in the right order to form sentences.
Stories Encourage Emotional Intelligence
Sharing stories may help your child better understand his or her emotions. Research has shown that even children as young as preschool-aged can learn to name emotions in books, or even start to empathize (share emotions) with the characters. Pause during book reading and study the characters with your child. Ask him or her how they think the character is feeling, as you point out clues about the character’s facial expressions, body language, or the story line. This can help your child understand and express his or her emotions during daily situations, which can be helpful with working through some of the more challenging ones. Understanding emotions in books can also help your child become a great friend! It encourages your child to take another’s point of view.
Readers are Star Students
Exposing your child to print and books from an early age helps develop his or her phonological awareness skills, which is a predictor of later reading and spelling abilities! Showing your child letters, talking about their sounds, and hearing or forming rhyming words are all activities involved in reading that can help your child become a better reader later on. And another awesome academic benefit – Recent research has shown that children who read high-quality material may perform better on school tests.