5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD READ ALOUD TO YOUR TODDLER
BY RYAN SPENCER
Dymocks Literacy Expert and State Director of the Australian Literacy Educator's Association
Most of us want to raise smart, resilient kids with the opportunity to fulfill their potential. But did you know as a parent you have the power to boost your child’s learning power and set them up for success in life, simply by reading to them every day?
Children who are good readers are usually successful learners. By encouraging them to become adventurous and creative readers, we are establishing reading habits that will stay with them for a lifetime.
Here are 5 reasons why you should read aloud to your kids.
1.Reading to children boosts their brain power
Evidence shows that children aged between three and five who are read to by their parents have greater neuron activity on the left side of the brain, which helps develop literacy by increasing their comprehension of words, language processing, and visual imagery. Listening to stories read by mum or dad actually changes a child’s brain biologically.
2.Reading improves fluency
When you share a book with your child, they get to see good reading modelled for them. They establish a sense of the speed and prosody that is essential to fluent reading and this then aids in their comprehension of the story. To help your child hear themselves as a fluent reader, choose a favourite book, and take it in turns reading a sentence, such as in the style of echo reading, where you might read a sentence or a page first then your child repeats the same part. Hearing themselves as confident and fluent readers allows children to break out of the struggling reader mindset where every book is a challenge.
3. Reading expands vocabulary knowledge
Research shows that possessing a broad vocabulary is essential to making sure that children have access to a range of different words with different meanings. It therefore makes sense that the more words that children know when reading independently, the more they’ll enjoy what they’re reading as the story will make sense. While explicit vocabulary lessons are taught in schools, parents can also assist in helping their children learn new words at home by reading favourite books aloud. Before reading a book for the first time, flick through the pages with your child. Look for any interesting words that your child might not have seen before. Talk about what these words mean and where they may have seen them before.
4. Rereading helps comprehension
Successful reading is all about making sense of what we’re reading. As adults, if we don’t quite understand something that we’ve just read, the first thing that we tend to do is to go back and reread. This is a vital skill that we need to encourage in our children to help them become self-sufficient readers. Reading aloud provides the means by which to clearly talk about what is happening in the book and to practice this rereading skill. The conversations that discuss what the book might be about can take place before reading with your child in order to predict what might happen. Discussions during and after reading are also usual in clarifying what your children have just read.
5. It brings the fun back into reading
As any avid reader knows there are few things better in life than curling up with a favourite book and not wanting to put it down. Sharing this experience with your child is a valuable way to get them on the path to loving books as well. Consider taking home a new book from the bookstore or library and ‘selling’ this with enthusiasm to your child. Try talking about the pictures, look at interesting words and predict what might happen before reading together. When you are reading the book aloud for the first time, use different voices for each character to add interest and excitement.
DYMOCKS BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UNDER 5’S
Spark the imagination of little readers with a range of picture books, perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
- Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
- Possum Magic by Mem Fox
- Wombat Stew by Pamela Lofts
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
- Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd
Some posts you may enjoy are our 50 Best Books for Toddlers post