The importance of reading to young children

We know that reading to our children will familiarise them with words and their sounds from an early age. Even very young children who are not old enough to speak yet will become immersed in story time, and all the more eager to learn the words and sound for themselves. Good picture books and reading apps can also help young developing minds with word and image association, but what else?

The parent-child bond

Reading is time together, more importantly, calm time together. The hectic comings and goings of daily life, and the busy family dynamic, means we are getting less and less quiet-time with our little ones. Set aside some reading time each day and enjoy the peace and quiet together, while your child still learns.

Better communication

By spending this time with you, and also by seeing the communications between the characters in their stories, your child will relate to others and express their own feelings more readily. At this age children are developing valuable communication skills.

How to read a book

It might seem obvious to us, but not to a young child. Even before they can get a full grasp on the words, children can start to learn about how to read a book. They can see you reading it from left to right, top to bottom (especially if you trace words with your fingers or a pen as you read). And they will learn to recognise titles, and the front and back of a book. All very fundamental initial reading skills.

Relevant stories help

If your little learner is approaching a milestone you can very often use story time as a way of bringing up questions and answering any fears. There are many helpful tales out there relating to things like: ‘First Day of Preschool’ ‘First Plane Ride’ ‘First Trip to Dr/Dentist’. These can be very helpful, and if you find you are facing a unique problem you can make-up a story together.

Discipline and attention span

Young toddlers will need to start with very short stories as their attention span is naturally still very short. However, regular reading actually improves the attention span of young children, especially when they begin to identify with a character. You will find that they will start trying to stay a little bit longer to find out what happens to the character. Will there be a happy ending? As your child get a little older they will discipline themselves to listen until the end of the story, as they will want to find out what happens at the end.