Reading to your little ones brings endless benefits while also giving you some one-on-one bonding time. Storybooks tend to hail magical powers upon us, transporting us into different worlds, taking us on adventures and unravelling our imagination; and until your little one is ready for independent reading, reading to them will have to remain as the foundation. This foundation opens a world of benefits for your little one, and just like most kids, having their parents read to them will forever be embedded as their favourite childhood memory. Cuddle up with your little one and whip out their favourite storybook, we’ve got a book’s worth of benefits on reading time and tips to make it a whole lot more exciting for your little ones!
What Are the Benefits of Reading?
- Practice Makes Perfect - As mentioned before, reading to your little ones will encourage independent reading while also enhancing the skill. Not all children will find reading a book an easy task, especially not on their first try but those who have been read to since young will help make reading a book almost second nature.
- Improves Vocabulary & Language Skills - As you read to your little one, they’re usually right beside you, having a look at the words and pictures. Your little will pick up on the sounds these words make and connect them, which will in turn and in time, improve their vocabulary and language skills. They will learn new words and phrases as you read to them, we learn new words even as adults so allow your little ones to explore and understand words they are yet to know.
- Bonding Exercise - Reading time is a great way to bond with your little ones, both you and your spouse could take turns, or the entire family can come together, making reading time a fun family bonding activity.
- Flexing The Brain - Just as jogging exercises the body, reading exercises the brain. Any complex activities that require us to get our thinking caps on will have our brains in workout mode, reading for one strengthens our brain and the connections that surround it.
- A gateway To Otherworldly Experiences - Reading to your little ones enables them to imagine those words in their brain, it helps build their imagination, allowing them to reach into their creative side. Reading opens our minds to new possibilities, ideas and helps us experience things through the eyes of another. Just like how movies and even music can take us away from reality, books do the same. Reading time will promote independent reading and before you know it, your child will pick up a book of their own and start reading. Books also work as a stress-reliever, giving your little one somewhat of an escape from daunting reality and into a world they’ve created in their minds.
Tips To Enhance Reading Time
- Have Your Little Ones Pick the Books - Head on down to the bookstore or your local library and let your little ones pick out the books that intrigue them. On the occasion where your little one comes to you with a handful of books, have them choose one and the rest will be bought or borrowed in the weeks that are to come. Giving your little ones the option over the book will have them feeling involved and this will pique their interest into reading time. Even if your little one picks the same book over the weeks, keep to it until they’re out of that loop.
- Choose the right books - Go ahead and pick up a book that you think is right for your little one but be sure to flip through the book before making that purchase. When they said never judge a book by its cover, they also meant it literally. Here are some tips to look out for when selecting books that will capture your toddler’s attention:
- For younger toddlers that are aged 12–24 months: A book that has basic words and is covered in colourful pictures. You’ll want them learning easy words so look out for basic words such as ‘Hello’, ‘Run’ or ‘He’. Pop up books are great for keeping them tuned to the book.
- For older toddlers that are aged 24–36 months: Your little ones will most likely be at the stage where they are starting to memorize and mouth the words off the books, so take it up and notch by selecting books that hold more information but make sure it isn’t overly complex otherwise you’ll lose their attention in a heartbeat. Books about animals, cars or outer space that are written specifically for young kids.
- Get Dramatic with It - Make every reading session different and fun by incorporating some excitement to the reading aspect by emphasizing on the story with your acting skills. Tell the tale of the book with a splash of drama, feature different voices for each character and throw in dramatic expressions here and there to get the audience (your child) on their feet. This will put a picture to the story and your little one will have a blast watching you act the story out.