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Benefits of Reading for Children

As we all readily know, reading is a great habit to have, so promoting this habit to children since their early childhood will go a long way in giving them a great head-start in life as there are plenty of doors in their little minds that can be opened when we expose them to reading. Children who read tend to be more intellectual and articulate, so start them off really young!

There isn’t any particular age to specifically start them off on their reading habit. Parents can start reading aloud to infants (although they have not developed their speech) by pointing out very simple words to them. As they move along with age, they would have gathered quite a number of words so keep going! Once their speech pattern develops, join simple phrases from appropriate children books (matching them with pictures will drastically help) to help them build their vocabulary base. By the time they get older, they’ll be able to understand most words that they read whenever they pick up a book.

From starting off with reading out to children, up to the point where they are able to pick up the book and read themselves, there are plenty of benefits that reading can bring to both child and parent:

1. Reading enhances connection

It’s quality bonding time with the children! Be it reading aloud to them, or having them read out the book, tucking in just beside them helps to enhance the bond between parent and child. Parents can also take the opportunity to interact with the child during the reading session by throwing in a few questions about the story, or even reacting to the events in the story (i.e. gasping, cheering, etc.) to show the child that mummy or daddy is also invested in the story.

2. Reading improves their cognitive and motor skills

The ability to think and relate to the story is important as children learn about the world around them. Meanwhile, older children can also sharpen their motor skills as they hold the book, flip the pages and point to the words/sentences they read. These are simple skills that help them to think, and learn empathy in their lives as the content they read can be reflected back to their own experiences. All it takes is a little nudge from parents to get them thinking!

3. Reading sharpens focus

Good stories transport readers to another world, or bring the reader closer to the mind of the author. So, when a child reads, they would be able to learn concentration as they open up their imagination where the story brings them to. They will be able to form a coherent story in their minds, identify characters and give them a description to these characters that they read about. The level of attention they put into their books will also help them improve their attention span as they tackle more complicated tasks later in life.

5. Reading sows the seeds of creativity, social and emotional development

Depending on the content of the book, children will be able to sharpen their creativity levels (imaginary worlds, characters, etc.) and build their social and emotional skills as they will be able to relate to the mood and the setting of the story that they read to their own feelings in real life. This then enhances their social interaction skills, and they also gain confidence in identifying the words, phrases and the sentences they read.

Reading opens up to an infinite world of possibilities, so for a young child to pick up the reading habit early, parents must take the initiative to select age-appropriate books for them and be participating in the reading activity as well so that the full benefits of reading for the child can be realized!