Reading aloud to your child aids in reading and kindergarten readiness. Here are some tips for making reading aloud even more beneficial.
The act of reading aloud to children is 100% beneficial to children. It nurtures and bonds the reader and child, teaches more than reading, stimulates the mind and emotions, motivates, and aids in pretending.
And continuing this beloved ritual after they begin to read promotes more learning and nurturing behaviors.
There are many benefits for the adult reader as well.
But promoting and inspiring the love for books and reading is one of the best investments parents can make towards their children’s education.
I am a pre-published picture book writer, and I’ve learned the many benefits of reading aloud to children. And as a board member of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Waco, I’ve learned even more reasons that benefit the child and reader.
Last year, I attended a conference for the Imagination Library, and I learned more facts about the advantages of reading to children. I also learned tips in making the time more beneficial, and I want to share more information with my Waco Moms.
These are some of the most significant benefits for reading to children:
- Reading provides the basis for all future relationships.
- The time you spend reading to children creates meaningful connections with the adult reader.
- Reading aloud improves the child’s sense of self-worth.
- Spending the time reading to your child improves their resilience to stress (and yours at the time).
- Reading books aloud stimulates the part of the brain responsible for attachment.
- And reading aloud provides the ability to regulate emotions.
These are only a few. There are many more.
Tips to enhance the benefits of reading aloud
There are also easy ways to enhance your child’s learning while reading aloud.
Studies prove that reading aloud for 15 minutes a day will help your child. But, of course, that is simply reading books from beginning to end. But you can do more.
If you spend a bit more energy, you’ll see even more positives from spending the time with your child.
Use your finger.
Sliding your finger along the words as you read teaches even the youngest that you begin reading at the left and go to the right. You can even ask them, “Where do we start?”
They will begin to recognize words the more they read with you. For example, you can ask them letters and words like, “What letter is this?” Or “Find all the A’s on this page.”
As parents, we tire of reading the same book over and over. But as an author, the words you cherish most are, “Read it again!” Many picture books use repeated words or phrases, and the more you read the book, the child anticipates the phrases and page turns and soon will read along with you. This is an important step in learning to read.
But don’t just read the words.
Picture books are a partnership between the writer and illustrator. Read the pictures, as well as the words. Many illustrators tell a side story in the pictures or enhance the story through their artwork. Children who hear a story over and over can anticipate what is coming.
This is a good time to point to the pictures and discuss them. Let the child linger on the page if she wants. Ask questions about the emotions of the characters. And ask the child if he has ever felt this way.
Also, you can ask questions about colors, shapes, animals, etc., on each page. More learning opportunities!
Let the child hold the book.
When you allow the child to hold the book and turn the pages, they begin to understand that we hold the book a certain way and that they should turn the pages in one direction. Holding the book makes them feel big and more a part of the process of reading. It also promotes the desire to read and enjoy books.
The Bond is undeniable.
Spending time reading aloud with your child creates a special bond between the reader and listener. It is an intimate act of love. Taking the time to read to your child during the day and before bedtime is a selfless act because we all have nights when we’re exhausted or have had a bad day, and we would instead not take the time. But if you will relax and enjoy the moment with your child, you will benefit as much as she will.
As you know, reading aloud is vital to children from an early age, and continuing this beloved ritual even after they begin to read promotes more learning and nurturing behaviors. And involve others, too—grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends. As a result, the child and reader will develop a bond that will benefit all.
Shop for picture books at Fabled Book Shop or Bookstop. Also, don’t forget our local libraries. A library card is your friend!
And don’t forget to write a review on Goodreads or Amazon—it helps the author and illustrators.
Also, I review picture books every Wednesday on my Instagram. I don’t have children or grandchildren to read aloud to, so I read to my weenie dogs—the Weenteam. We review the latest, greatest picture books as part of an ongoing HHHUYT called Weenteam Wednesday. And the last Wednesday of the month, I post all four of the picture books reviewed that month on my blog. I read at least 15 new books a week as a picture book writer. (I need a grandchild!)
And The Imagination Library of Waco provides free books to children from birth to their fifth birthday—a total of 60 free books! We are open to five zip codes in Waco, and as we raise funds, we will open to more, eventually hoping to be open to all of McLennan County. For more information, please visit our website today!