Story telling and reading to children has been a constant throughout history. The magic of bedtime stories, the sacred space that allows a child’s imagination to be ignited and the special bonds that can be formed during story time are enough of a reason to read to your child every night, however reading to your child is a key part of their development.
Literacy skills are a vital part of a child’s development, impacting their future ability to do well at school, socialising, developing independence, managing money and working. A child’s literacy skills don’t begin when they start learning to read. It begins much earlier on in their development, when they are developing their ability to speak, listen, understand, watch and draw – these are the building blocks of literacy.
Some of the benefits reading to your child will bring include:
- A stronger relationship with you. It allows you both to snuggle up and slow down. It allows reading to become a nurturing activity.
- Higher aptitude for learning
- Basic Speech and communication skills. Grasping fundamentals of language, developing a larger vocabulary and the ability to express themselves, relating to others in a healthy way.
- Improves thinking and problem-solving skills
- Enhanced concentration and discipline
- The knowledge that reading is fun and an enjoyable time
Reading to your child can start as early as from birth but it is also never too late to start. But stay with it. Children love the sounds of language before they are even aware of the printed words on a page. Reading stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. Reading to your child on a regular basis sends an important message that reading is worthwhile.
As your child grows and their interests and emotional needs change so will their regular reading needs. You may find yourself in a “one more time” phase, where your child favours one book and wants to read it over and over and over again. This particular story is connecting to them. Patience is key here. However continue to expose your children to a wealth of books and eventually like all phases it will pass.
Tips for reading to your child!
- Read with your child. It’s that simple.
- When your child is old enough encourage them to hold the book and turn the pages.
- Slide your finger along underneath the words as you read them, pointing out each word.
- Point out pictures and talk about the pictures your child points to.
- Make the sounds of animals or other objects in the book. Let your inner child out and have fun!
So take some time to slow down and create a regular reading time with your child.