Reading whether as a bedtime routine, school homework, research as a University student, while shopping or for leisure, it is a constant activity that we undertake throughout our lives. Reading has many benefits for us as it exercises our brains to create new neurons whilst connections become stronger and aids us in learning. Reading books also encourages and develops many other skills through this simple but fun activity.
Here are 7 reasons why reading to your child is important:
1. Language Development
Reading helps to support the development of expressive language skills and expands your child’s vocabulary. Through reading, your child will learn new words and begin to identify these words both within the book and within the world around them. Children also develop their ability to structure sentences and will begin to formulate these on their own.
2. Expands Imagination
A child’s imagination expands and grows when having books read to them. As a book is read, our brains formulate images of the places and events, while we also imagine how the characters are feeling. All this information is processed by your child, and they incorporate these things into their everyday play. Reading with your child also allows them to learn the difference between what is ‘real’ and ‘pretend’ and how to interact with others.
3. Understanding Emotions
Reading books aids children to understand change and emotions as well as, develop empathy. This happens as your child develops and begins to picture themselves in the situation of the characters in the story, and how they would feel in the same situation.
4. Expands Knowledge
In the same way, young readers learn about the world around them. They develop knowledge that everything is not simply a chicken or a dog but a whole variety of possibilities. They learn that a fish does not just live in their fish tank at home, but also in the ocean with an endless amount of other living creatures.
5. Improves Concentration
Research also shows that reading with your child improves their concentration and attention as they learn to sit still quietly to focus on the story. With each story shared together, your child is extending their ability to concentrate on a task.
6. Calming Effects
Every parent at one stage or another experiences an energetic and hyped up child just when it’s time for nap or bed time. Reading is a fabulous way to calm your child and focus their thoughts on something different.
7. Promotes Bonding Time
And if all these reasons aren’t enough, reading is also an inexpensive way to spend time together and create an everlasting bond. Reading together allows you to form common interests, laugh at the same things, spend intimate time looking at pictures and talking about the story.
So why not give it a try?
Dr Angraj Khillan, Consultant Paediatrician Western Specialist Care Centre
Emily Lugton, Occupational Therapist, Change for Life