Benefits of Reading to Children

19 Mar by HPA/LiveWell Clinical Psychology

Reading stories is part of many children’s bedtime routines.  While you have likely heard it is helpful to read to your child, the benefits of reading to children may extend far beyond what you realize.

Importance of Reading to Toddlers

Toddlers may seem more excited about the pictures in books, than the actual words.  Nonetheless, by reading to your toddler you are stimulating their minds to work harder than they would otherwise.

  • Encourages basic speaking skills. Not only does reading aloud engage your toddler’s mind in new ways, but it also supports basic speech skills.  Hearing the words can reinforce your child’s understanding of pronunciation and encourages “pre-literacy.”
  • Teaches them about their world. One of the major benefits of reading to children is in the way it helps them gain a better understanding about the world around them. Being read to allows toddlers to ask questions (i.e. – “what is that?”) and better identify the things they encounter on a day-to-day basis (i.e. – cars, colors, etc.).

Benefits of Reading to Children in Preschool

You may notice your preschooler has a favorite book that they request you to read to them over and over again. While it might be dull for you, there are benefits to reading the same few children’s books numerous times to your child.

  • Increases vocabulary.  The more you can read aloud to your child, the larger their vocabulary will grow.  When reading the same book over again, your child is essentially getting a review of the words they learned, allowing them to be solidified into their vocabulary.
  • Encourages independent reading. The act of reading to your child teaches them the value of books and the importance of reading, increasing the likelihood they will read on their own.

Benefits of Reading to Children in Grade School

Children in grade school are taught reading skills, but that does not mean you should no longer read aloud to your child. There are still many benefits of reading to children in grade school.

  • Develops literacy skills. Grade-school aged children tend to have an understanding of basic reading skills and therefore can begin to develop skills around sentence structure and more advanced vocabulary. Reading aloud to your child supports this transition.
  • Increases empathy. Children’s imaginations are inherently expanded when they are read to. Books help children explore different places, people, and experiences, which in turn enhances their capacity for empathy.

Benefits of Reading with Adolescents

It may seem strange to read to your teenager, especially if they are avid readers on their own. Nonetheless, there are still benefits of reading to children in their adolescent and teenage years.

  • Exposure to new books and writing styles. Your child will likely be introduced to a variety of new books in high school, some they will enjoy, and some they may not. But just as some books may turn teens off of reading, a book they are excited about can spark a new enthusiasm about reading. Continuing to read aloud to your teen can help expose them to new forms of literature they would not otherwise explore (i.e. poetry, biographies, etc.).

To learn more about how you can help your child’s development check out our parent support groups or call to learn about the mental health services for children offered at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, 518-218-1188.