In a world saturated with technology, reading has become a lost art. Books are replaced with iPads, cell phones, Netflix and video games. While some of these devices and activities can be educational, a special bonding time between you and your child is being lost when they take priority over reading time.
In addition to strengthening your relationship with your child, reading together can have significant educational and developmental benefits. When you think about all of the benefits that reading can produce, you’ll want to grab a book and begin!
Research shows that a significant amount of brain development occurs within the first three years of a child’s life. Children who are read to at as early as 8 months old increase their understanding of words by 40%, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents to read to their new-born infants. Greg Worrell, president of the Scholastic Classroom and Community Group, said that “Reading is the birth right of every child and a door opener to leading successful lives.” In fact, the benefits of reading to your child are numerous. Reading with your child can:
- Create a longer attention span
- Lay the groundwork for future academic success
- Lower school drop-out rates
- Calm your child
- Increase communication skills
- Create a long-term love for reading
- Promote critical thinking skills
- Develop vocabulary, language and literacy skills
- Build listening skills and imagination
- Expand their knowledge of the world
- Teach coping skills
- Improve memory retention
It is important to make an effort to set aside time to read to your child at least once a day. In fact, just 20 minutes of reading every day will expose your child to approximately 1.8 million words of text every year! Bedtime reading is a wonderful way to help your child relax and to enjoy some time together with a good story. In our hectic lives of “hurry up and wait,” it is a great idea to carry books along with you as you go about your day. Pull out a book while waiting for an appointment or waiting for food to arrive at a restaurant. Spend some time at a park with a blanket and snacks, and read under a tree.
By incorporating reading time into your daily routine, you will be showing your child that books are important without saying a word. Knowledge is power, and books are full of it! So, take advantage of this opportunity to help your child to build the valuable foundation of a love for reading. This is a tool that they will use for the rest of their lives, and as a parent, reading to your child will prepare them with an excellent foundation for academic excellence.