Reading to Children
As parents, many of us know this but we may not be sure exactly why it's so important that we read to our kids when they're small.
So what exactly are the benefits of reading aloud to kids?
Reading aloud to your baby or young child is a wonderful bonding experience but did you know that it's also the start of the learning-to-read process?
In fact, the learning-to-read process starts at birth when babies start to tune in to the sounds and rhythms of spoken language.
Parents and other people who love the new baby begin talking to this new little person from the time he or she is born and reading aloud can begin straight away too.
Reading aloud plays a vital role because it helps develop three essential pre-reading skills: phonological awareness, background knowledge and vocabulary.
Reading Aloud & Learning to Read
Reading to children stimulates and develops three things that are critical for learning to read:
These three skills are actually the foundations for learning to read.
If you aren’t familiar with these skills or if you’re wondering how on earth you’re supposed to teach them to your child, please don’t worry!
Knowing about them and understanding how they develop is interesting but not really that important.
In fact, you might even find that you don’t need to formally ‘teach’ anything.
Your child won’t be aware that listening to you read stories and nursery rhymes is helping his brain to develop.
He’ll just think he’s having fun with you!
The Magic of Reading Aloud
We now know that children who are read to:
Children who start school with years of happy reading aloud experiences under their belts grow into confident learners in all subject areas simply because they are in the best possible position to get the most out of school.
Their strong language and listening skills and wide general knowledge help them to understand more of what the teacher says and give them the ability to confidently take part in class discussions.
Amazing stuff, this reading to children!
In fact, children’s author and literacy expert
speaks and writes about the magic of reading aloud and has even written a book called
How to Begin Reading Aloud
So reading to babies and young children is important but where do you start?
Reading aloud comes naturally to some people but if you haven't done it before it can feel a bit weird or even embarrassing.
It's something we usually don't have any experience with until we have our own children so it can be hard to know how to begin.
So this section of Best Books for Kids is all about the ins and outs of reading to babies and to children of all ages:
Callaghan, G; & Madelaine, A. (2012). Levelling the playing field for kindergarten entry: Research Implications for preschool early literacy instruction. Retrieved from http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au
home >>> reading to children
~ Marilyn Jager Adams, US child development expert
~ Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me."
~ Gillian Strickland, poet
Reading to Children
Your local library may have copies but I'd suggest you buy your own, if you can.
They're not expensive and they really are books that you'll dip into regularly as your children grow.