So your child just learned how to read. That’s awesome! It’s a big step towards a lifelong relationship with books. Is it time to sit back as your child curls up with a good book and a blooming love of literature? Not quite.
There is a plethora of good reasons why you should read to your children. Studies have shown that reading to your children boosts their brain power by creating more activity in the part of their brain that is responsible for literacy, word comprehension, language processing, and visual memory. Reading is a great way to spend time together as well. Not only does it teach them that reading is a worthy pastime, but you can also learn a lot about their developing personalities by what stories they go back to again and again. Reading is also a great way to expand your child’s imagination.
But this moment when they are branching out into reading by themselves is arguably one of the more important times to read to your child. And not just any books, but books that are far beyond their own reading level. So if they are loving the Berenstain Bears, try them with the Chronicles of Narnia or A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you’re unsure, there are plenty of websites that offer awesome suggestions (like #AmReading!)
One of the big reasons to read to your children is vocabulary building. Young readers are going to come across lots of words they don’t know. Day to day conversations rarely branch out with new and rich vocabulary. By reading to your children, they not only get to hear new words, but they hear them in context. That alone may help boost understanding. But as an added bonus, you are there to explain what they don’t understand.
The second big reason to read challenging books to your children is syntax. In beginner books, the sentence structure is generally simple. But as you branch out into the world of literature, the syntax grows in complexity. So, while your child may understand the individual words on the page, they might not have the skills to decipher how it all goes together. By reading it to them, you help to bridge the gap of understanding, so that next time they come across something similar, they will be more capable of conquering it.
Don’t forget that learning doesn’t end just because the story is over. Talk to your children about what you just read. For example, if you read them The Hobbit, why not talk about Bilbo’s adventures and why you think he so suddenly chose to go on them. Wonder together why Harry Potter‘s aunt and uncle are so against magic (because it sounds amazing to the rest of us). By doing this, you open up their minds to thinking more deeply about books, rather than just taking the story for face value.
So go ahead! Grab a good book and read to your children. Not only is it awesome bonding time, but it will set them well on their way to reading excellence.
What books do you like to read to your children?
YouTube Channel: Flea Reads
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