The ability to comprehend language and derive meaning is what makes us human. Developing these skills early on is critical to future success in school and work. Parents are able to greatly accelerate learning by reading to their child.
The early years is a crucial period for language development. Reading aloud is a highly beneficial activity that contributes to:
- Increased language skills
- Better academic performance
- Understanding of new concepts
- Stronger family relationships
- More logical thinking
- Enhanced concentration
This is not a trivial matter either. Numerous studies have been conducted that highlight the benefits of reading to toddlers and the impact it has on language development.
Research conducted by the University of Melbourne followed 4,000 children for six years from pre-school to mid-primary school. The researchers found the most important predictor of academic success was the amount they were read to by their parents.
A similar study found that children who were read to three to five times a week performed significantly better on the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) compared to those who did not partake in these activities.
A 2013 British study on the impact of reading, Social Inequalities in Cognitive Scores at Age 16: The Role of Reading, found a strong link between test scores and children who read for pleasure. The research supports the notion that reading for leisure has a profound impact on cognitive development.
What is the conclusion of all the studies?
There is growing evidence that the impact of reading to young children is substantial. Parents play an important role that can effectively give their children an early head start in life and contribute to their overall success.
Make Reading a Lifestyle
The importance of reading aloud to young children cannot be stressed enough. Parents are strongly encouraged to start in the early years and continue even after their children learn to read on their own. Reading aloud helps to improve key communication skills that will be beneficial later in life.
Get started with the following tips:
- Set aside time to read to your child
- Choose books with plenty of pictures
- Read the content with expression
- Encourage interaction with the books
- Find a quiet spot free from distractions
- Keep reading materials around the house
- Minimise screen time including TV and tablets
Reading aloud teaches children valuable skills and gives them an opportunity to explore challenging concepts.