During the early years, reading sets children up to be successful. At birth, children start to absorb the use of expression and language though reading. As babies develop and begin to “coo” it is at that moment that they begin to master language. This is an important piece that enhances the development and prepares children for school later in life. As we engage in language with children from infants up to school age, we limit ourselves in the words that we use which also limits our expressions. In order to increase the opportunities of learning, reading to children often helps build upon their vocabulary and its use. Children should be read to daily as this ensures exposure to different words, phrases and their uses. The more words they know, the better they comprehend. Reading to children also helps promote concentration and a child’s ability to focus. With consistency, children will learn patience as they wait for the reader to turn pages, as they sit quietly and listen, and as they learn to take turns as they begin to want to participate in reading. Consistency in reading encourages togetherness as the child is being read to. This helps create and maintain bonds with parents and caregivers as it can be most shared one on one and helps develop social and emotional skills needed throughout the life of the child.
Reading not only develops verbal communication, but it helps develop a child’s imagination and their creative side. This, in turn, supports developing friendships as they learn to socialize, rationalize, and begin to show emotions as well as sympathy for others. Providing daily readings to children, based on a variety of topics, help them to use their imaginations as they make decisions. When asking children what they want to do or be when they grow up, it is the exposure to reading that helps them experience endless opportunities of being someone or something different. This type of reading helps them develop an understanding of differences in others physically and this awareness to differences allows them to adapt to changes easily and more frequently.
When reading to children, keep in mind that what you read to them is just as important as how long you read to them. Allow children the opportunity to express what they have gained from learning. According to your child’s age, children should read or be read to at least 15 to 20 minutes a day. Research states, “the impact on reading to your child twenty minutes a day exposes them to 1.8 million words a year!”