Reading to Children

I was a lucky little girl. My parents both spent lots of time reading aloud to me. Twice a week we walked to the library to check out new books. I loved books and I liked libraries too. And guess what? By the time I was 4, I was reading to them. I remember the very first book clearly. It was called “So Long,” and it was about a dachshund. I looked at the words “so” and “long” and I knew what sounds they made and I knew what dog they were referring to. It was magic. Learning to read really is magic.

One of the best ways to gently guide your child toward learning to read is by reading aloud to him or her. Here are ten reasons this inexpensive and enjoyable activity can produce magical results.

It’s fun! It gives both parents and children a few quiet moments of focused time together.

Children who have had books read to them naturally develop an interest in reading themselves. Soon enough your child will be reading to you, and will probably become a lifelong book lover.

Children who have books read to them develop extensive vocabularies and become more skilled in communicating themselves and in understanding the words spoken or written by others.

Children whose parents read to them are more successful in school because so much learning depends on reading and writing.

Listening to spoken words creates vivid impressions and allows the listener to form his or her own “word pictures.” So reading aloud stimulates imaginative thinking.

Reading aloud provides parents with the opportunity to select what to read to the child. It is a way to introduce the child to excellent children’s literature, including books the parent most enjoyed as a child.

Talking about books you have read together is a natural way to develop open communication channels with your child.

Reading aloud is relaxing for both the parent and the child. Sometimes both may fall asleep during reading time, and that’s a good thing.

Reading to your child builds self esteem and confidence. The child learns from the content being read, and also from the realization the parent is willing to spend this special time together.

Pay it forward. Nearly all children respond to a good story, read aloud. Someday your child will want to read to his or her own child.

These ten points summarize some of the most important advantages of reading aloud to children. If you need help in selecting appropriate books for your child’s age and interests, visit your library and ask for assistance. Or you can Google “reading lists for children,” and you’ll find an extensive list of websites that provide suggestions for books appropriate for children of all ages.