It’s never too early to start reading to your child and nurturing their literature skills. At The Green Elephant, we understand the benefits of building young minds through literacy and incorporate activities for children’s reading into our robust curriculum.
Reading aloud to your child not only gives them a head start on developing their reading, listening, empathy and comprehension skills but helps to nurture a strong bond as they sit close and listen to your voice.
In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of reading for children and why reading is important for children from a young age. You’ll discover how reading aloud develops your child’s mind, how to get them interested in reading, and the best books to read for children.
What is Reading for Children in the Early Years & Why is it Important?
Reading to a child during their early years helps to strengthen brain pathways for language development. With their brain developing over their first year, it’s a perfect time to reap the many benefits of reading books for children.
As your child hears your words, their brain forms language recognition and literacy skills. Even before they can verbalise their thoughts with you, reading aloud exposes your child to words and vocabulary imprinted in their brain.
Reading is important for children’s development, and reading to your child in their early years will help them when they start school. They’ll have more general knowledge about the world, recognise words and have more developed empathy skills to handle their feelings in healthy ways.
How Do You Get Children Interested in Reading at an Early Age?
Introducing activities for children’s reading at an early age can set up healthy learning habits for the future.
Starting Early, Reading to Your Infant Baby
To get your child interested in reading from an early age, start when they’re an infant. Make reading a part of your daily routine, and enjoy quality bonding time with your child. When you read aloud to your infant, their imaginations are inspired, their minds explore the pictures on the page, and their developing brain will associate reading time with a happy experience.
Tips for Reading to Your Baby
Babies crave interaction, and their developing brains are stimulated by fun and engaging stories. Choose short, engaging books that feature animals, cars or anything where you can make the associated noises. Use your voice to engage their attention, varying your pitch and volume and empathising words for impact. When your baby becomes an infant who may not sit still, continue your reading routine as they’ll still listen, even if they’re playing near you.
Reading to Your Toddler, What It Can Improve
There are many benefits of reading to children, especially toddlers, as it improves various aspects of development, including:
When toddlers listen to stories, they begin to understand basic concepts, logic and judgement of situations. The tone of your voice will also help them determine when situations are happy or sad, frightening or peaceful, etc. While reading, you can stop and ask them about the story and discuss the pictures and what’s happening to boost their comprehension skills.
Reading should be a calm, fun time with your toddler. Find a time when your toddler is most reactive to having story time. Many parents will read a bedtime story to their toddler as it allows for unhurried reading, quality bonding time, and reduces the stresses of the day for a restful sleep.
Boosting Brain Development
Boosting brain development is a proven benefit of reading books for children. Your toddler’s language brain pathways are developing, so exposure to words, language skills, and comprehension is vital at this age. They’ll also learn critical empathy skills to handle situations and emotions they face in life.
Deepening a Bond Between You and Your Child
One of the best benefits of reading for children is deepening the bond with their parents or caregivers. As they settle in and connect with you, their senses are heightened, listening to your voice and engaging their brain. This learning time with you makes them feel safe and secure as you relax together to share an adventure, learn a lesson or have fun and laughs.
What Should I Read to My Toddler?
Toddlers under 18 months of age enjoy picture books and touch/feel books that explore familiar items, like animals or people. Sensory books allow them to explore the world through touch while they develop their vocabulary by listening to your voice and following the story.
Older toddlers enjoy longer books filled with humour and rhythms. As they follow along, they’ll learn to turn the pages and engage with the book as they become familiar with the language patterns and words.
Zero to Three is an excellent resource that features the best books to read for children of all ages.
Tips for Reading to Your Toddlers
Here are some tips for reading to your toddler:
- Read their favourite book often as they’ll find it comforting and start to learn the words to read along with you.
- Stop while reading and ask questions like, who’s your favourite character, how did that make you feel, can you guess what will happen and so on.
- When reading, purposely make mistakes or stumble on the words so your toddler can jump in and help you. This will grow their confidence and get them involved in reading the story with you.
- Use expression in your voice, creating voices for different characters and helping your child understand when something’s fun, sad, exciting, calm, etc.
- Point at the words as you read so your toddler learns how to recognise the spelling of the words with their pronunciation.
We Read to Your Children at Our Early Learning Centres
At The Green Elephant Early Learning Centres, we have regular story time sessions in all our rooms as we understand that reading is important for children’s development. Offering a selection of age-appropriate books, we encourage the children to choose their favourite book to read. During quiet times, your child is encouraged to flick through picture books or enjoy quiet reading.
Find More for Your Child from The Green Elephant
Please get in touch with us to discover more about The Green Elephant and our early learning and childcare approach, explore our curriculum and facilities, and our commitment to fostering a nurturing and inclusive environment for children.