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The benefits of reading aloud just can’t be overstated. Reading books to kids is easy, it’s enjoyable, and it is so, so worth it. Discover the magic that reading aloud to children can bring into your home!
Listening to stories and being surrounded by books teaches kids how to love books and reading, right from the start.
A child who loves to listen to stories will see books as a source of warm, positive experiences, and will keep coming back for more. The first time a toddler or preschooler hands a book to you with an expectant look on their sweet little face, you will know you are well on your way to raising a child who loves to read.
Reading with a baby or a toddler creates cozy bonding opportunities that you’ll cherish forever.
The warmth, safety and comfort of your lap are just what your baby or toddler needs to feel secure and happy. Add reading aloud to talking, singing and playing peek-a-boo, and you’ll build a strong foundation of trust and love.
Reading aloud enhances your child’s early language development.
Reading to babies exposes them to the unique sounds and patterns of language during a time of explosive brain development. Take advantage of this opportunity! Babies, toddlers and preschoolers who listen to books and stories have richer language development and a deeper vocabulary. You’ll be tickled pink when you hear your preschooler correctly using a fancy word that you recognize from a familiar shared book.
Reading aloud develops specific reading readiness skills that children need before they can learn to read books on their own.
At the most basic level, reading aloud teaches children how to hold a book, and how to turn pages. Reading aloud develops crucial phonemic awareness, or the ability to hear individual sounds in words and orally manipulate or “play with” those sounds. For example, saying a word slowly and being able to hear each sound individually “C—A—T” requires phonemic awareness. (This sounds easy, but it’s not!) Reading aloud also fosters the ability to rhyme, another important part of phonemic awareness. Lastly, reading aloud helps children develop print awareness – the idea that those little black marks on the page are letters, which make words, which mean something! This can be a thrilling realization for kids, and it is the most fundamental concept of reading.
Reading aloud fosters strong family relationships by building shared interests and providing topics for lively discussions.
Nothing is more fun than having the whole family fall in love with a book and share the excited anticipation for the next chapter. Choose books that have some connection to your family – a place you have visited, a challenge you have faced together, or an activity you have shared – and then enjoy the conversation that naturally results.
Reading aloud builds the background knowledge and enriched vocabulary that are key predictors for success in school.
Hearing books read aloud exposes children to more complex language and more sophisticated vocabulary than we use in everyday conversation. Reading aloud also builds crucial background knowledge to help children better understand what they see, hear, and read at school. Consider this…it’s much easier for your child to understand a science lesson about the cocoons the class is hatching if they have heard you read The Very Hungry Caterpillar countless times.
Kids who have been read to have better listening skills, deeper concentration, and a longer attention span.
They are well equipped to adjust to the structure and routine of instruction during a typical school day. And thanks to listening to mom or dad read aloud, this probably doesn’t feel hard, because they associate listening, concentrating, and paying attention with positive experiences!
Children develop critical thinking skills as they listen to stories and notice how characters solve problems.
Sequence, cause and effect, and comparing and contrasting are naturally part of stories and books. Read aloud experiences provide low-key exposure to these concepts long before formal comprehension strategies are taught at school. A child who has been read to will invariably have excellent comprehension and thinking skills.
Pull out some old favorites, or choose a new book from one of our recommended Book Lists, and start creating the priceless legacy of reading aloud in your family today. You won’t regret it.