Children develop more in the first 5 years of their life than at any other time (hence why these are called the foundation years), and during these years’ children start building the blocks for the rest of their life. Reading is just one of these blocks. However, it is not simply just ‘reading’- it is SO much more. It is spelling, listening, writing, literacy, social skills, imagination, drama… the list goes on!
Parents are the most important educators in a child’s life. Reading with your child and giving the gift of reading for pleasure from an early age really is probably one of the best gifts you can give to your child to help their future and their development. Snuggling with your child and sharing a book together is great for developing healthy relationships and well-being, creating special memories, you will love the same book over and over which may drive you crazy but rest assured they are developing new vocabulary which they will become more confident with.
Numerous pieces of research conducted and commissioned by BookTrust have discovered the profound benefits of reading for a child’s development. One study details the effects of reading on later literacy skills, facilitating social interaction between adults and children, and encouraging children to engage with the world around them. It also states how reading can be a ‘stable source of information’ throughout a child’s life. This stability allows them to access text in a constant fashion and can be especially beneficial for children growing up in challenging circumstances.
The top ten benefits of reading to children:
Their vocabulary is larger and more extensive.
They perform better academically.
Their imagination can run wild.
Their creativity skills develop.
They develop empathy.
They gain a deeper understanding of their world.
Their concentration levels improve.
The parent and child bond improves.
Their cognitive development is supported.
Their social skills and interaction improve.
Even during infancy, a child can look at pictures and listen to your voice. Read aloud to your child and point to the pictures on the page, saying the name of the objects that appear. This provides your child with two sources of information: an understanding of real-world objects and an understanding of the importance of language. Even when your child can read by themselves, you should still read aloud together for practice.
After you’ve finished reading a story to your child, consider trying to keep it going. Age depending, you could ask them questions about what they’ve just read. For example, “Did you enjoy that story?”, “Who was your favourite character?” or “Why do you think the prince was happy at the end?”. However, don’t feel that this is necessary for every single story you read. If your child enjoys the book, it will develop a love of reading anyway, even without the conversation.
At Nursery we have a lending library which is now open again for children to take home their favourite books to read with their families! We also have free books to give out to parents and carers to ensure that all children can get these early years reading experiences for the very best possible start in life! Please ask a member of staff for more information.