Reading to your child is one of the most effective way to build the “language” neural connections in his growing brain as well as the strong base for his cognitive development.
A study was made in Rhode Island Hospital to compare two groups of eight months old – one group was read to often as babies, while the other was not. It was shown that those who were read to have their “receptive” vocabularies (number of words they understand) increased 40 per cent since babyhood, while the non-reading group increased by only 16 per cent.
According to Pamela High, the lead author of the policy statement: “Reading to children and with children is a very joyous event and a way of fostering a relationship, as well as [helping] language development. And we don’t have to wait until we’re getting them ready for school. We can make it part of regular routine.”
Reading to your child does not only benefit his language development. It is only one among other very important benefits:
The intimacy of reading to your kid is such a pleasurable experience to him that he will have a positive attitude towards reading as he grows up.
It calms your child, especially when he is fretful and restless.
It promotes increased communication between you and your child.
Preschool children who are exposed to language by hearing words that are read to him and in conversation tend to do well in school.
Many studies show that students who love learning and do well in school were exposed to reading before preschool.
Your baby learns early the basics of reading a book, that words represent sounds and concepts, words are read from left to write, and stories continue when you flip the page.
It promotes longer attention span, which is an important skill for your kid to be able to concentrate.
It builds listening skills and imagination.
Your young child learns about colors, shapes, numbers, and letters, while your older child discovers an expanding chain of knowledge. His interest in cars, for example, will expand to his interest in trucks, and other transportation like planes and rockets, and soon he will be reading about outer space, science and technology, and so forth.
A study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science in January 2013 concluded that “reading to a child in an interactive style raises his or her IQ by over 6 points.”
Books teach your child thinking skills early. When you read to your child, he learns to understand cause and effect, he learns to exercise logic, as well as think in abstract terms. He learns the consequences of actions, and the basics of what is right and wrong.
Books teach your child about relationships, situations, personalities, and what is good and what is bad in the world he lives in. Fantasy books provide material for his imagination and free play. Fairy tales fascinate your kid, and help him distinguish between what is real and what is not.
When your child reaches a new stage in his growth, or experiences a new and unfamiliar situation, reading to your child about a story relevant to his new experience can relieve his anxiety and help him cope. For example, if your child is stressed about his first day in school, or about moving to a new location, you can read a book to him that shows that these should not be painful experiences.
According to a study published in Pediatrics, children who had been exposed to home reading showed significantly greater activation of a brain area that is “all about multisensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation,” according to Dr. John S. Hutton, the lead author and a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Reading to your child build brain networks that will serve him long-term when he transitions from verbal to reading.
Your child learns early that reading is fun and not a chore. When your child grows up, you will not be stressed about getting him to read, as reading has become, for him, a pleasurable habit. Reading to your child influences him to be a lifetime reader – and reading has so many benefits!