Most parents are aware that reading to children is beneficial, but did you know that reading aloud to your child actually improves his or hers numeracy skills? An Australian study shows that setting aside some time to read once a day or at least 3-5 days a week will have a direct causal effect on your child’s schooling outcomes regardless of family background and home environment. There are numerous other benefits that your child will enjoy as well.
Here are 3 areas where you’ll watch your child improve if you make reading aloud a daily habit.
1) Your child’s cognitive skills will improve, and he or she will do better at school
Preschoolers who are read to more frequently at age 4-5 achieve higher scores on literacy and numeracy tests for both reading and numeracy. Studies show that reading has a significant positive effect on children’s reading skills and cognitive skills later in life.
There is a clear association between reading to children at a young age, and the level of reading and other skills that these children develop over the following years.
2) Your child will be better at expressing emotions
You can use books as a tool to talk to your child about his or her feelings or about changes in your family that might be challenging for you or your child. It could be the arrival of a new sibling, disease or death in the family, divorce or starting in school.
Remember to ask your child questions as you read aloud. It could be questions like “How does that feel?” “Have you ever felt that way?” “Why do you think the child in the book behaves that way”? Give your child time to think and respond, and be open and curious to what your child expresses.
3) You child will develop better social skills
A child who goes to school needs to be able to sit quietly – at least some of the time – and to be considerate towards teachers and classmates. By reading aloud to your child, you practice your child’s ability to listen. A few minutes of reading in the beginning is fine, and then you gradually increase the time depending on your child’s age, maturity and starting point.
If you have more than one child, they can practice taking turns to ask or answer questions, giving your children the opportunity to practice being patient and considerate. For quieter children it’s a good opportunity to practice speaking in front of others.
If you make reading aloud to your child a daily or a weekly habit, you’ll give your child a great foundation and help prepare him or her for school. Besides the obvious benefits mentioned, you get to spend time with your child and experience the closeness that results from having a routine that both of you enjoy. Try to make reading time a pleasant, cozy time that your child (and you!) looks forward to. Snuggle up, put away your phone and enjoy!
Kate Phillipa Clark is a journalist writing about twins and their parents on about-twins.com. She’s written a great deal about twin pregnancy, twin birth, premature twins and done book reviews.
Kate graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an Executive Master in Corporate Communication. For some years, she worked in the private sector, before launching About Twins in 2016. Sign up to receive alerts about new articles and contests on about-twins.com.