Even in these times of smart phones and internet, books are still important for children. Reading aloud has an especially positive influence on little ones.
Reading aloud has a positive influence on learning
Canadian scientists from the University of Waterloo published a 2017 study on the relationship between reading aloud and memory performance. They conducted a test with 95 people tasked with learning written information. The result was clear: The best learning results were achieved by reading aloud. But reading aloud not only helps adults to learn. Our children also enormously benefit when we read to them.
Learning to speak by reading aloud
First and foremost, reading aloud helps the little ones to develop their sense of language. That is why it is so important to start reading aloud in the first year of a child’s life. Babies imitate the sounds of their parents, even if they do not yet understand what they are reading.
Older children also benefit enormously from reading aloud. They learn new words or phrases from hearing them, so it is important to vary the stories you read to them. Books from different authors and genres have different styles. These broaden the children’s language horizons. A colorful mixture of traditional fairy tales, the rhymes of Dr. Seuss or the fiction of Mark Twain provide variety.
Reading aloud encourages the imagination
Besides the linguistic support, reading aloud also stimulates the imagination. Children discover new worlds or travel to distant countries in their thoughts. They experience adventures with the characters, which they then often put into practice in their daily games. Furthermore, reading aloud contributes to training concentration. However, the length of the story to be read should correspond to the age of the child; if necessary, text passages can be shortened or omitted.
Reading aloud time is quality time
Reading aloud is particularly important as quality time. Working parents in particular can use a reading hour as a way to spend time with their child. Cuddling up on the sofa and delving into a story together – there is hardly an easier way to show affection. Ensure that you’re spending quality time together by devoting yourself entirely to your child. Turn off your phone and don’t think about housekeeping or other work. It can wait! Dedicate yourself entirely to your child and reading together. Children know when parents are only half-heartedly involved, so don’t short-change them, or yourself. Re-reading classic books can be just as educational for adults as it is for children!
Empower children through reading aloud
This joint reading time also promotes communication between children and parents. This time isn’t just for babies and toddlers – children of kindergarten or school age can especially benefit. It is important to talk to older children about what they have read. This exchange also promotes the formation of opinions: “What do you think about history? Did the character behave correctly?”
Discussing what has been read is particularly important with outdated narratives: “That character wasn’t very kind to people who were different than him. What were the consequences of that behavior? How can we treat everyone with kindness?”
That’s why the selection of children’s books and stories that empower is so important. Fortunately, there are now more and more books in which strong girls or children of color play the leading role. Such heroines and heroes increase the potential for children to identify with the characters and strengthen their self-confidence.
Select the right book to read aloud
In addition to helping children learn, reading aloud strengthens the parent-child relationship. That is why it is important to choose a book together with the child. Reading can quickly become annoying and tiring if your child gets bored because the subject is not interesting or the language is still too difficult. Especially for younger children, short stories with a lot of pictures are often more captivating. They can look at the drawings while they listen to your words. As children learn to read on their own, story illustrations become less important.
Young ones often want to look at the text to recognize the sequence of letters. You should choose the book to be read based on the comprehension level of your child. You can also refer to resources like FamilyApp to find fun ideas and activities on different topics you can read together.
Time spent reading is a fantastic investment in your child’s future. In addition to building your relationship, you’re helping them develop social and analytical skills as they discuss the story with you. You’re expanding their vocabulary, as they’re exposed to new words and ideas they might not know otherwise. You’re able to share your values with them, as you can look for positive traits in these stories that reflect what’s important to your family.
These are just some of the many benefits of reading aloud, which will have a profound impact on their future success.