How Reading Aloud Benefits Your Child

Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your child, and the list of benefits is long. By reading to your baby from early on, you will give him a head start on literacy and language skills as well as expose him to whole new worlds of knowledge. And on top of all this important learning, reading is also a wonderful chance to enjoy quality time together.

A Time for Bonding

Holding your child in your lap to read a book is important bonding time for both of you, and it will help to encourage a love of books and reading. Your baby will learn to connect reading with love and comfort, and he will look forward to the quiet time spent cuddled with you while enjoying a good story. Reading offers a one on one experience with your child that he will come to treasure, and develops a deep connection that will last a lifetime.

Developing Language Skills and Vocabulary

Reading aloud to your child introduces him to all the basics he needs in order to learn how to talk. Your child will hear new sounds, which will help him figure out how to pronounce these sounds and form them into words. While it might be a long time before you hear complete sentences from him, your baby is already picking up the concepts of sentence structure and grammar both from your speech and from the books you read aloud to him. Children who are read to are more likely to begin reading at a younger age, as they have developed a familiarity with and love for the written word, and have more advanced language skills.

Expanding Knowledge

You may not be able to take your child to visit a farm, to another country, on a cross-country journey by train, or sailing on the ocean. But with books, she can experience and learn all about these things right at home. Reading about a variety of topics gives her a wider knowledge base, which will serve her well later in life. Choosing the right books will also offer you the opportunity to teach your child about different cultures and places; this in turn sets the stage for teaching opportunities about diversity. This is one of the many ways in which books can help you to instill values and ethics in your child.

Preparing for School

Learning to read is a basic and necessary skill in school, and the better prepared your child is the stronger her chances of success. Reading to your child helps her to learn the most basic concepts of literacy, like being able to tell words from images on the page and knowing that the words go from left to right. Not only will she already have a good foundation for learning to read on her own, but she will also have learned to listen, as well as to sit still and pay attention. These abilities are all vital to your child’s academic success. Research has shown that children who are read to early do better not just in reading, but in all their studies.

Reading to your child is so important to her intellectual development that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you read to your child daily from 6 months of age. However, there is no reason to wait until 6 months; you can start reading to your newborn right away. Even if your baby falls asleep, or is more interested in playing with the book or chewing on it than in reading it, making books a part of her day will set her up for a lifetime of literacy.

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