March is National Reading Month! Of course, reading to young children introduces new vocabulary, but studies have shown that there are numerous other benefits, as well.
- Reading can calm your child, especially in times of stress.
- It promotes a longer attention span and improved ability to concentrate.
- It encourages communication and bonding between you and your child.
- Reading to your baby introduces fundamentals like turning pages, readings words left to right, recognizing different sounds, and using words together to tell a story.
- Reading aids in the development of critical-thinking skills and problem solving.
- Children can learn to be empathetic towards others through the use of good literature that values emotions and humanity.
- Reading allows children to use their imagination to explore events they may be unable to experience in person.
- Preschool children tend to do better in school if they are exposed to language through conversations and by having more challenging words read to them.
- Studies suggest early reading skills impact literacy scores 10 years later. Children who read earlier see improved comprehension of fiction, news articles, and other documents.
Since reading is vital for future school and life success, it’s imperative that reading and thoughtful conversations be encouraged and practiced at home. Choose a specific time when everyone in the family reads, not just the children. Show enthusiasm about reading, choose stories that you enjoy, and have a variety of non-traditional printed literature available.
Also, relate reading to their interests. If your child loves food, they might delight in reading a cookbook! If they’re interested in cars, you can have manuals for them to look at.
Perhaps most importantly, even once your child is able to read independently, do not stop reading aloud to them. Through this habit, they’ll continue to expand their vocabulary, build listening skills, and learn about story characteristics such as setting and plot.
Get more tips on how to read to your baby, toddler, preschooler, and beyond:
(This post originally appeared on the Tutor Time learning together blog)