Not many people will question the importance of developing literacy skills for children.
Being able to read can impact a child’s self esteem, health, and well being throughout their entire lifetime.
As a parent or caregiver, you probably understand this, but might have questions about the specific benefits of reading to your child.
How does it impact them at different ages, for instance?
As a provider of speech therapy for kids, we know the importance of reading to childhood development, and we want to share that information with parents and caregivers alike.
Read on, for the facts on reading to children.
When Should You Start Reading To Your Baby?
Did you know there are benefits to reading to your child even before they’re born?
There is evidence to support that reading to babies in utero during the late stages of pregnancy (approximately the final ten weeks) can give them a head start on developing language skills.
This practice can help with language development and may even help them to better recognize speech patterns.
Benefits Of Reading To Infants And Toddlers
Infants and toddlers may be too young to follow along with the words you’re reading, but reading to them still has lots of benefits.
Let’s look closer at reading to this age group.
1. It Helps Them Understand Sound
People make different sounds and facial expressions depending on their mood.
For proof of this, try watching somebody express their anger in a language you don’t understand.
You can still understand their feelings, even if you don’t known the specifics of why.
When you read to your baby, try incorporating this.
Try changing your expression and voice when a story is happy, sad, exciting, and so on.
This can help your baby develop emotional awareness and understand that different sounds can denote varying moods.
2. It Develops Their Social Skills
Using a variety of voices and expressive sounds when you read to your child can help them learn emotional awareness.
This is the beginning of their understanding social interactions.
Pointing at pictures and touching books can also help develop these skills in young infants.
3. It Teaches Them About The World Around Them
As your child gets older, you can point to pictures in a favorite book and have them identify objects such as animals, colors, or people.
Answering questions about the pictures in books helps them learn about their world.
You can connect what they see in pictures to what they see around them as well.
4. It Teaches Them How To Tell Stories Of Their Own
It’s vital for children to learn by example.
By reading stories to them, you’re giving them the template for forming their own stories.
Something as simple as them knowing that a story requires a beginning, a middle, and an end gives your child the template to make up their own stories.
That’s important for if they become a writer, but sharing stories with each other is also one of the most fundamental social bonding activities.
Why Is It Important To Read To Preschoolers?
As your child reaches preschool age, they will start to show preferences for certain books over others.
You’ll recognize this as they request their favorite story night after night.
But even when you’re frustrated because you’re reading “The Cat in the Hat” for what seems like the one thousandth time, they are still getting the benefits associated with reading.
1. It Builds A Love Of Reading
The more you read to your children, the more they will come to associate reading with a positive experience.
This will also prompt them to want to seek out books and try reading independently.
2. It Builds Their Vocabulary
The vocabularies of preschool aged children are constantly expanding, and one great way to help this is to read to them.
Not only does reading to your preschooler help them grow their vocabulary, but it also lets them learn to recognize letters and associate them with sounds.
3. It Builds Their Emotional Intelligence
How do we understand the experiences of others?
By hearing stories about them.
Kids like to hear stories about people who look like them, but it’s just as important to read them a variety of different stories.
This can help them learn to look at the world through someone else’s eyes, and imagine what others might be thinking, feeling, and experiencing.
Tips For Reading Aloud With Children
Reading to and with your child may seem to be a pretty straightforward task.
Open the book, and read aloud.
However, there are ways that can help you and your child to get the best possible experience.
Let’s look at some things to remember when reading to your child.
1. Put Emphasis On Important Words
Reading is a great way to help expand your child’s vocabulary.
Use techniques such as changing the speed, tone, or pitch of your voice to draw attention to new words, or words which are of particular importance to the story.
2. Use Dramatic Words
When looking at picture books, take time to describe the pictures.
Try to go beyond just naming items in the pictures (“car”, “apple”, “bowl”, and so forth) and look at ways to describe what is happening in the pictures instead.
Are the characters running, walking, or jumping?
Did the ball go under or over the car?
Which images are most important to the story, and why?
3. Relate The Story To Their Life
One great way to help your child enjoy stories better is to draw parallels to their own life.
Help them find similarities between the stories you read and their personal experiences.
For example, if somebody is walking a dog in a book, you might compare that to your neighbor who often walks their dog in the neighborhood.
4. Make Sure Your Child Understands What They’re Hearing
It’s one thing to just read to your child, but another to know they can fully grasp what is happening in the story.
Find ways to relate the story to their life.
Stop and ask them to make connections between what’s happening to the characters in the story and things that have happened to them.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
Is your child having difficulty learning to read?
Are you frustrated because you’ve done everything “right”, and they still seem to be lagging behind their peers?
If so, we’re Voz Speech Therapy in Washington DC and we can help.
We work with families in the DC Metro area to provide treatment for issues related reading and communication.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.