The benefits of reading to children are almost too many to list in one article! The importance of reading to children can be quantified into scientific benefits, such as boosting brain development and increasing vocabulary, but some of the biggest benefits of reading to children are emotionally-based. When we sit next to our babies they feel the warmth of our bodies next to theirs and the soothing tones of our voice, making them feel safe and loved. The benefits of reading to children also apply to us as reading quiets our minds as we focus on the words – especially when we read out loud to our kids.
The importance of reading to your child can be measured in both scientific and emotional value. Reading to kids not only benefits our children but also ourselves!
The Benefits of Reading to Children
The benefits of reading to children lay an important cognitive base to build upon as our babies grow into children and even adulthood. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released guidelines that advise us to start reading to our children from infancy!
The benefits of reading to your child extend to language development, as books expose children to words that are more sophisticated than they would typically use. As we read, our kids can also stop us and ask questions about the words and pictures which increases communication skills.
Bonding time is an extremely important benefit of reading books to children. I still remember snuggling next to my Grandma when she would read me chapter books as a child. I associate reading with getting the undivided attention of someone I loved, and I carry a love of reading with me to this day.
Calming and Relaxing
One of the benefits of reading to infants is that it is calming and relaxing. It’s easy for us moms to forget to take the time to sit down! Reading to young children forces us to sit down and relax, which in turn calms our babies.
Another calming and relaxing activity for kids is painting. Check the benefits of painting here.
Another benefit to reading to young children is that it improves their concentration skills by watching us turn the pages the right way and seeing us looking at the letters to form words with our mouths. Reading books to our children also promotes a longer attention span- an important skill for concentration.
Puzzles are also a great way to improve your kids’ concentration skills. Learn more here.
Reading to our kids also helps promote imagination! In order to understand what’s going on kids have to imagine scenes and associate imagery with words. Researchers have proven that kids who are read to out loud with no visual aids “showed significantly more brain activity in the areas the process visual association.”
How to Make Reading Fun for Kids
We’ve covered the many benefits of reading aloud to children, but how do we make reading fun for kids? Some ideas include making up voices for characters or mimicking animal noises for any animals in the books. You could also point out certain items and characters and see if your child can spot those characters or animals in other places in the book!
Another way to make reading fun for kids, especially toddlers and older children, is to have them pick out their own books. They will often pick their favourites again and again! Make reading fun for kids by fostering a real-world connection and help spot words on clothing, signs and posters, and even menus!
Real Books vs Screens
A downside to digital books is that they tend to be heavy on the animation and interactive elements, which can be very distracting. The screen glare from digital books can also make children’s eyes tired. Part of the benefit of reading to children is that it makes the caregiver read out loud, and digital books replace that benefit by automatically reading to the kids.
At the end of the day digital books have their benefits, but parents need to make an effort to be present while they are being used and should limit their use especially for younger children as they get easily overstimulated.
Best Books for Babies
The benefits of reading to babies are many, but there are some things to consider when choosing the best books for babies. Remember that baby’s vision is developing so look for books with high contrast colours (such as black and white) and large pictures – these are easy for babies to focus on.
Babies love books with rhymes, rhythm and repetition! The best books for babies also appeal to tactile senses such as touch and smell. Waterproof and soft books that can go in the bath and your baby’s mouth are also good choices for your little one.
This six-pack case of soft books is full of bright colours and textures for your baby featuring a variety of themes ranging from colours to numbers and food. They are small and portable so both of you can have fun looking at them either at home or on the go!
This book is special because it folds out accordion-style! The high-contrast black-and-white colour scheme makes the pictures easy for baby to see and can fold out all the way on its own so baby can look at the whole display of pictures while doing tummy time or on your lap.
Fuzzy pages of baby animals makes this book a tactile adventure for your baby! Little fingers will love touching the soft lambs, puppies, and bunnies in this board book. Make it even more fun by mimicking the animal sounds as you explore the pages together.
Best Books for Toddlers
Like babies, toddlers love rhyming stories and large pictures. The importance of reading to toddlers is vital as this is the age they start becoming familiar with the alphabet. Introduce books that incorporate short words and remember that reading with your toddler helps them learn about sounds, words, and language!
Toddlers might also love stories about dinosaurs or monsters (I know my 3 year old does) so take a look at these fun monster books too!
Board books with pictures of babies are always a hit with babies and toddlers, and this one is no exception. The sweet pages of young children and babies being born and exploring life around the world will no doubt bring both of you joy. You and your toddler can also count fingers and toes along with the characters in the book!
Dive into an animal adventure together with your toddler in this delightful board book of 101 animals! It features split-flat pages that guide toddlers to match animals with their environments, encouraging problem-solving skills through searching and matching queries.
This set is my toddler’s favourite set of books! It comes in a 10-pack and the flowing and rhyming style of each book will grab the attention and hearts of your toddler as well. The illustrations are charming and eye-catching and really embody the art of storytelling.
No review of children’s books would be complete if I didn’t include Possum Magic! This timeless tale of family and magic and exploring Australia’s most treasured landmarks and foods will no doubt become a treasured staple in your toddler’s book rotation.