By Nathalie Kunin
Reading aloud is one of the most enjoyable activities that a parent and child do together. It is also one of the most important. Snuggling up to read bedtime stories is an important bonding time at the end of the day which sets the stage for a good night of sleep. You can share in your child’s excitement as their imagination is sparked by the story transporting them to a different place and time. The benefits of reading aloud go well beyond the simple pleasure of time spent together. Even as your child begins to grow up, and there is less time in the day to read aloud, it is important to make time for it, even just 30 minutes a day. The educational benefits of reading aloud will pay off in many ways.
Pass on a love of learning to your child by helping them become stronger readers and encouraging reading to be a part of their daily lives. It doesn’t matter what you are reading so long as you are doing it together.
Increasing your child’s attention span is a necessary skill for kindergarten and beyond. The ability to focus, pay close attention and follow the events of a story is an integral step in a child’s development.
Exposure to language allows your child to associate sounds to words, and words to sentences and ideas.
Reading quality literature and modeling expressive reading in a lively and engaging tone of voice promotes emerging literacy and language development. It also strengthens children’s vocabularies, exposes them to sophisticated language structure and improves their writing skills.
Cognition is the ability to reason clearly and think critically, which develops more quickly if reading aloud is a daily part of a child’s early years. Asking your child open-ended questions promote comprehension and the ability to make inferences and develop analytical skills.
Don’t forget about older children who also still love to be read aloud. As parents, this relaxing activity allows us to continue to connect with our children. Reading aloud promotes better sleep for children of all ages, and it can sometimes take the pressure off an older child who has had an exhausting day and a lot of homework. It is a great way to unwind with your child.
Reading before bed rather than exposure to screens (TV, computer, i-device) promotes better sleep. Many studies have shown trouble falling asleep and staying asleep is directly correlated to the use of screens right before bed. Forming a routine with reading as the last thing before going to sleep enables you to have some quality time with your child while setting the path for increased academic success.
Nathalie Kunin is the owner of Team Tutors, Inc. and an educational consultant in Los Angeles.