How Reading Aloud to Children Impacts their Emotional and Academic Development

Mar 6, 2019

Amy Joyce of The Washington Post writes: “One of the most important things parents can do, beyond keeping kids healthy and safe, is to read with them.”

Researchers now recognize, reading aloud can help young children excel in areas beyond literacy. Yes, reading aloud is the best in helping children develop word mastery and grammatical understanding, which form the basis for learning how to read, but it simultaneously helps children learn the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in life. They learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult, and this enables them to better control their behaviour when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness.

Early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and gives them an understanding of the world around them and how to be empathetic citizens of the world.

Reading books with rich language is better than speaking for increasing a child’s vocabulary.

Such studies have proven that reading aloud:

  • Builds motivation, curiosity and memory
  • Helps children escape from the stresses and pressures of their world as the story takes their imaginations to other places and times they have
    never been enlarging and enhancing their worlds
  • Creates a positive association with books and reading
  • Becomes a special sharing time and helps children feel loved

While Little Harvard educators do their part, here’s what you can do as a parent:

Read to your child every day even for a few minutes. When picking books to read with children. Present books as sources of pleasant, valuable, and as an exciting experience. Find toys or puppets that are like the people in your child’s favourite story, in order to encourage them to remember and act out the story.

Provide background knowledge to help children make sense of what they hear, see, and read. The more they know of the world, the better they will understand their place in it.

Be a reading role model and visit your local library. Let your children see you reading lots of different texts, such as books, magazines, newspaper, and recipes. Children who value reading will be motivated to read on their own. Let your children know that you are proud of their reading.

Tips for picking books for your children to read:

  • Toddlers enjoy books with colourful pictures, simple rhymes and stories about things they know. Use books that only have pictures and make
    up the stories with your child.
  • Keep books simple and short for younger children.
  • For older children, don’t make story time a reading lesson. It is a time for sharing, fun, and relaxing.
  • Don’t expect too much too soon when your children are learning to read. Reading is a complex process.

Experts have always said that reading is fundamental, and we know this might be even more important to the foundation of every individual’s success than we could’ve ever imagined. Grab the nearest picture book and cozy up with your kids (or borrow your relatives!) — everyone involved will have fun and those young minds will be better off having spent some time with you.

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