Once upon a time…
Do you remember your favorite book you wanted your parents to read to you? Or do you remember the moment before bedtime, sitting close to your parents while they were reading aloud to you? The fact that we still have these memories says something about the importance of this activity.
Probably you’re already aware of the importance of reading aloud to your child, but in everyday hustle it’s easy to forget about it. That’s why we will give you some reasons here, so you make sure it will be part of your everyday routine.
Brain and language development
An important benefit of reading aloud is that it stimulates brain and language development. With all the new methods of measuring brain activity, researchers discover interesting facts. For example Horowitz-Krauz and his team saw that, when the young children were being told a story, a number of regions in the left part of the brain became active. These are the areas involved in understanding the meaning of words and concepts and also in memory. These same brain regions have been found to be active when older children listen to stories or read. The kids whose parents had read to them more at home showed significantly more brain activity in the areas that process visual association. All this evidence is telling us that while reading aloud, the brains of the children are working and growing and this has a positive effect on their language development. It will also help children to be better readers later on in their lives, because they’ve developed that part of the brain that helps them see what is going on in the story.
Of course you generate as well brain activity while talking to your kid. This parent-talking is very important in the language development of a child, because learning of a language starts with listening to the spoken language around you. But the extra benefit of reading a book is that it normally has a wider range of vocabulary than spoken language.
Now you will probably think you can as well start an audiobook and your child will have the same benefits. This is not totally true, because children learn better when an adult is involved. So for the full benefit it’s the best if you read aloud in an interactive way with your kid.
This brings us to another type of benefit that reading aloud brings us: it’s actually fun and an important moment together with you child. Normally it is a one-on-one moment with your child, you’re both engaged into the book and sharing what’s happening. This bonding you do at that moment is really important for the secure attachment of a child. Caretaking from a loving parent or caregiver in the early years is good for a healthy brain development, which on his turn forms the foundation for success later at school and in life. Reading a book together is one of the best ways of engaging with young children. Even the youngest baby loves to be held close and hear the voice of Mom or Dad as they read a book aloud.
Many more benefits…
And if this not yet enough to convince you to keep reading aloud to your child, here some more benefits:
- When children’s encounters with books are enjoyable, they are more likely to develop positive dispositions towards books and later reading.
- While you read a story children are concentrated and listening carefully. Reading aloud to your children enhances it’s concentration level.
- Reading books with children helps to develop empathy. Children can identify themselves with the characters in the book and it teaches them empathy. As well it can teach them about emotions. Books can be used as a way to talk about certain emotions with your child.
- Reading stories opens up imagination and stimulates creativity.
Hopefully now you have enough reasons to find some time and read aloud to your child. Next time we will tell you something more about the way to do it.
And so the children lived on happily ever after…