- Reading aloud on a routine basis provides babies and children a predictable opportunity in which they receive the undivided attention of their parent or caregiver in addition to the physical and emotional connections they make with their parent or caregiver.
- Reading aloud provides children more exposure to child-directed language. Children who hear the most words directed at them during their earliest years, have greater receptive language skills (what they hear that they are able to understand). Children who understand a large number of words when they enter school are set up for success as they are able to comprehend what the teacher is communicating or requesting and they are able to listen and follow along with directions and academic instruction.
- Children who hear the most child-directed words also have the strongest expressive language skills. Child who use more words are set up for success since they can share their point of view or feelings, negotiate their position, ask questions, gather information and in other words, successfully navigate in their world.
- Reading aloud to children also helps them become stronger readers which is a foundation skill relied upon and needed to meet most academic goals throughout their education. Having heard the word many time and being familiar with many words offers these children more experience to draw from when they see the written word. Having never heard the word makes learning to read the word more difficult.
- Reading aloud exposes children to new words, ideas, beliefs, situations, cause and effect concepts, sequencing, perspectives and feelings, and so much more. Children often want to read the same book over and over again. While this may reduce their exposure to new concepts, sticking with the same book for what might seem like forever has its benefits as the level of understanding deepens with the familiarity of the words and concepts in their favored book.
So much to learn and explore about books and reading so you can see why it is important to allow children time to just manipulate books aside from time spent reading the story aloud.
While Reach Out and Read focuses on reading beginning at infancy, older children who are learning to read or are able to read for themselves still benefit from being read to. Reading together continues to offer both parents and children an opportunity to connect. Older children's reading levels are lower than what they hear and understand. When parent or caregivers read children longer books children are exposed to more complex ideas, experiences and vocabulary.Of course parents can still help children improve their own reading by switching roles and having their child read to them,helping when needed. Also reading to your child or for yourself shows your child that you value reading and find it see you reading to them as a desirable activity and a preferred way to spend one's time.
Visit Reach Out and Read for tips on choosing age appropriate books and age appropriate reading tips.