The Importance of Reading to Children


Why should we read to kids?
Reading aloud to children is one of the most important things a parent can do. At an early age, children learn by mimicking the actions of others. By reading aloud to them, you are providing your children with a strong model for how people read. In fact, a strong relationship exists between how much we read to children and the speed with which they learn to read in school. This correlation has been shown in children of all ages (
See Scholastic's Raising a Reader). In addition, reading gives parents the opportunity to have quiet time alone with their children, a rarity in the age of television and video games.

What should we read to them?
Anything and everything that you can think of!!! Newspapers, magazines, picture books, novels, plays, short stories, poems, nursery rhymes, essays … you get the idea! Many children are able to comprehend at levels above what they are able to decode, especially younger children. By reading materials that are slightly above their current decoding level, children are able to expand their vocabularies while increasing their listening comprehension. It is, however, a good idea to choose your materials with an eye towards the child’s interests. Also, keep in mind: the younger a child is, the more likely they are to be curious about everything!

When should we read to them?
When finding a reading time, it is important to take your own schedule into consideration. Ask yourself, "When will I be most able to read to my child?" For some parents, this time may be right before bedtime. For others, a short story read after dinner may be more appropriate. The most important thing is that you read to your child on a consistent basis.

What if I am not a very good reader?
Audio books a great option for those who struggle with reading. However, an even better option is to use this opportunity to improve your reading ability. I have tremendous respect for adults who admit difficulties with reading and dedicate their time to moving past these obstacles. Choose materials that you can read and build from there. As your reading ability improves, so will your child’s. In addition, as you become a better reader, you will have more choices of what to read to your little ones. Most importantly, do not give up! Reading is a skill that will not only benefit you, but is essential to your child’s success in school and in life.

For more information, check out Scholastic's Parent Newsletters.

 

Last Updated on June 20, 2010

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