Anyone who reads benefits from it. Reading increases your vocabulary, makes you more intelligent, exposes you to new ideas and perspectives, and exercises your creativity and imagination. Reading in general is required for any sort of learning, so building the blocks toward reading for your young child is an important step. Though he may not be able to read before starting preschool, making a habit of reading to him for a few minutes a day will give him an edge as he starts to develop his brain. As he starts school, the tools that reading has provided him will make him smarter, help him cope better with his peers and get him to love learning.
For parents, reading gives you a vital chance to spend time and bond with your child. A lot of parents miss out on spending time with their children because they both have to work, but investing around half an hour to read together makes the relationship stronger. It also shows children that their parents want to spend time with them. This builds trust and support in the parent-child relationship, and helps to build better communication between the two of you. This early bond in the relationship will set the foundation for how your child perceives you as he grows up, and can make it easier for him to approach you when he wants to talk about important issues.
Even if your child doesn’t understand everything about the story, he is still listening and trying to understand, which leads to better vocabulary building for the future. Studies have shown that babies as young as 8 months old showed better vocabulary in the future; babies that had been read to had increased vocabulary and understanding by 40% when compared to babies that weren’t read to, who had a 16% increase. This helps your child to master the language faster than his peers. Children also mimic, sound and repeat the words used in the books, leading them to develop good speech skills. They begin to understand intonation and diction based on how the stories are read, and can also use it in their own language. This mimicking can also help your child to understand how to actually read; for example, when you follow the lines with your finger, he can understand that text is read from the left to the right. The rules and concepts of reading, grammar and syntax can be introduced in this way.
Studies have shown that children who are read to are academically better than their peers in all aspects of education. The ability to read leads to the ability to learn and understand what is presented, and children that have a hard time with reading take longer to understand concepts taught. Reading can also help your child with emotional issues, such as nervousness and anxiety. If your child is scared about attending school for example, a story about the same topic can ease him toward this new experience.
When a child gets lost in a story, he is also able to get a glimpse into the complexity of relationships and the world’s workings. You might find that your child asks you questions that relate to ethics, morality, judgment and logic using the characters in the books, which builds analytical and abstract thinking. Reading can also help your child to focus better and concentrate. He might be squirmy and restless when you first begin, but as the story time progresses, he learns to listen and focus on what is happening. These are important skills as he grows because these tools can help him adjust better to the demands of schooling.
Finally, your child will take your example and learn to read for himself. This can instill a love of reading and learning as the years pass, and lead him down a path of higher intelligence, academic excellence, and better emotional adjustment.