Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world around them. It’s also one of the best ways to broaden your child’s vocabulary while developing a strong bond with each other. Reading together regularly helps them develop language and listening skills, preparing them to understand the written word.
Through reading, children learn about people, places and events outside their own experiences. By exposing them to new ways of life, it becomes easier to navigate the real world. This learning is important as it also helps younger children learn to about empathy. Children can practice seeing the world through someone else’s eyes and that allows them to develop an understanding and respect for the experiences of others.
Reading on a daily basis sets the stage for a love of reading and a strong academic foundation. The more words children are exposed to by reading, the better their comprehension skills. Creating a strong vocabulary early on also sets the foundation for being a confident communicator. When children are exposed to a wide range of words, they can communicate better and express themselves in more ways. The ability to communicate effectively will provide a secure future for your child. A behavior learned at an early age is a behavior for life!
Here are some helpful tips to get you and your child on their way to developing a love of books.
- Make reading several times a day part of your routine. Children thrive in predictable environments. Daily reading time creates the consistency and sense of stability that children need. Reading the same books over and over also allows children to predict elements of the story and learn through repetition.
- Read the pictures. Illustrations are visual clues that can help kids build their vocabulary. Before reading a book, take a “picture walk” through the pages. Look at characters and the setting and make predictions about what might happen. While reading, pause to look at characters’ body language and ask, How do you think she’s feeling right now?
- Help them develop reading as a hobby. Visit the library or the bookstore as a fun and engaging outing. Let them help you set up their own library. This can be a basket in a cozy spot or a shelf in their room. Show that books can be as fun, if not more, as the rest of the activities in their day.
- Last but not least, choose books your child will enjoy and can relate to. Books are an unlimited investment in the human mind and spirit. Its selection deserves thoughtful attention.