Why you need to read to your child everyday
The best mornings are those when I wake up to see my children reading. I read to Sonia daily, every single night before she sleeps and she enjoys bedtime stories. Sometimes we read a book or two, and many times, we read more than five books. She can go on and on with books. If she really likes a book, we can read the same book five times in a row and she still wants more. It’s a happy problem I gladly take on. In fact, I’m more than happy to read to her.
When she had nothing to do on some weekends afternoons, she would take out her favourite books and read them on her own. Nope, she couldn’t read the text, she couldn’t even recognise all twenty-six alphabets, but she could narrate the story by just looking at the illustrations. It helped that we have read those books a hundred times, she would have memorised the storyline.
WHY YOU NEED TO READ TO YOUR CHILD EVERYDAY
Help builds stronger relationship with you. As my kids grow older, they will always be on the move – playing, running, and constantly exploring their environment. Snuggling up with a book allows us to slow down and recapture that sweet, cuddly time we enjoyed when they were younger. It brings us closer.
Academic excellence. One of the key benefits of reading to your toddlers is a higher aptitude for learning in general. Tons of studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. This is logical – if your child struggles to string a sentence properly, how can you expect him or her to grasp math, science, social studies, history, geography, etc.
Build vocabulary and understanding. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a rich and wide vocabulary. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. Sonia isn’t able to read on her own yet but I read to her daily. Even if she doesn’t understand every word, she will hear new sounds, words and phrases. She absorbs something from the context that may deepen her understanding of it the next time she encounters the same word or phase.
More logical thinking skills. Another illustration of the importance of reading to children is their ability to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognise cause and effect, and utilise good judgment. As Sonia begins to relate the scenarios in the books to what’s happening in her own world, she becomes more excited about the stories I share.
Knowledge. Given the wealth of available resources such as the Internet and libraries, if your child can read well, you can be sure, for the rest of their lives, they will have access to all of the accumulated knowledge of mankind, access to all of the great minds and ideas of the past and present.
Improves your children’s attention span. Books with colourful pictures work even better than text-only books.
Reading can replace TV as a source of entertainment. Reading helps my kids utilise their time in a more constructive manner.
Reading is fun. Stories can free up imaginations and open up exciting new worlds of fantasy or reality.
Give your children plenty of reading material and talk about the stories with them. Books teach them so much – about relationships, situations, personalities, and about good and bad values. Fantasy books provide material for their imagination and free play. Fairytales fascinate them, and help them distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. If your child wants to hear the same story over and over again, that’s fine. Kids take comfort from familiarity and predictability of a story that they know by heart. There is no harm in that.