How Reading to Your Child can Enhance their Development

Like a good roll of paper towels, children are sponges. They absorb everything which is why reading to your kiddo is an important part of their development. Reading to your child, even when they’re infants, can create a long-lasting bond between you and them. Moreover, when you read to your child, their little mind works to absorb the words you’re saying even if they don’t understand them. 

What are the benefits of reading to your child?

Reading is fundamental and when you read to your kiddo, you’re giving their brain development a lift. Sure, your little one can’t sit still long enough for you to get through one page of the beautifully illustrated picture book about animals, but they are learning something. Even when they try to grab the book and put it in their tiny little mouth - so cute! - they’re taking everything in and the benefits of reading to your child still apply.

So, what are these benefits and how can our smart companion, Snorble®, chip in?

Enhance their cognitive development 

A 2013 study published in SAGE journals demonstrated that babies who are read to and talked to scored higher in cognitive development situations like problem-solving and possessed greater language skills. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2018 research found that the link between reading to your child and cognitive development carries on throughout childhood and into teenagehood. These verbal interactions between you and your kiddo may lead to higher language and IQ scores all the way up to age 14 or the onset of puberty - thanks hormones! 

Hone their listening skills

Comprehension is all about listening and the better your child is at concentrating and receiving information, the better they can understand it. Before children can read themselves, they’ll need to be able to listen and take in information. When you read to your youngster (or have Snorble tell them a story - more on that later) they’re honing their listening skills which in turn, enables them to process what they’re hearing. This also helps them visualize words when they learn to read and write. 

Expand their vocabulary 

According to the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning, babies’ brains prepare for their first words months before they actually utter them. By reading to your kiddo, you’re helping them build their vocabulary even if they’re not speaking yet. When reading to your little one, you’re preparing them for things they’ll encounter in their environment and using descriptive words. These words can be anything from “big” to “tremendous”. Although your kiddo’s first word probably won’t contain as many syllables as “tremendous” they’re still expanding their vocabulary by simply hearing the word. 

Build their attention span 

All the fidgeting your child does during storytime? That’s normal and at this point, you probably have the patience of a saint but you are helping your child develop concentration and self-discipline skills just by sitting and reading to them while they do their best impression of a fish out of water. Rest assured, the flopping around will eventually become less frequent as your youngster builds their attention span. Plus, the more they’re able to concentrate on the story, the more you’re helping them build their memory-retention skills. 

Social-emotional developmental advancement

Your child’s social-emotional development is crucial to how they react to difficult and stressful situations. By exposing your child to books and stories where the tension is heightened (starting preschool or daycare, anxiety about going to grandma’s house to sleep over without you, fear of the neighbor’s dog, etc.), your little one can see how these intense situations aren’t scary and can have a positive impact on them. Instead of throwing a 100mph fastball of a tantrum every time something doesn’t go their way, your kiddo will learn which situations require a meltdown (because they’re not sure how to express themselves properly - totally normal!) and which situations can be worked out without a fuss. 

Boost their creativity with fiction

Your child’s imagination needs both fiction and nonfiction to open up a new world. When you read them a fictional story about a talking airplane, you are boosting their creativity. Fantasy elements combined with the real world give your kiddo the chance to think outside the box and nurture their imagination. When a child’s creativity is boosted, they are able to develop their own interests and ideas. 

They see themselves represented

Through books and stories, children get to experience real-world situations through age-appropriate characters. When kids can see themselves reflected in the stories they’re reading, it helps them feel comfortable in their own skin and allows them to relate to the surrounding world. Plus, when children see their counterparts experiencing feelings and emotions they’re experiencing, it helps them learn that they’re not alone and what they’re going through is valid. 

Bonding and security 

As your kiddo’s brain develops, it organizes itself to create a foundation based on feelings of safety and security. When you read to your child, you’re creating a long-lasting bond that promotes healthy self-awareness, empathy, and trust. This type of secure attachment also  helps your youngster feel loved and have healthy intrapersonal relationships

Reading tips: instil a love of learning

We’ve put together the following tips to prepare your kiddo for a life-long love of reading and learning.

  • Silly is good. Not every book you read to your child has to be educational. A book about a flying dog can provide the same benefits as a book about dog facts. Remember that any time you read to your child, they’re being educated by learning new words and sounds so it’s okay to have a laugh. 
  • Real books vs e-readers. For better child-parent interactions, try using real printed books when your kiddo is young. You can switch to an e-reader as they get older, but it’s important for your little one to be able to touch and feel the pages to help develop their motor skills.
  • Read it again. And again. And again. If your child asks to be read a certain book over and over, that’s a good thing. Hearing a story they love again, helps their memory and lets them be more involved in the story by saying their favorite parts out loud. When re-reading a book ask your child questions like, “Do you know what happens next?” or have them fill in sentences to get them involved and create a dialogue with you. 
  • Inject their experiences into the book. For instance, if you’re reading a story about monkeys, you can ask, “Remember when we went to the zoo?” or “Do you know what sound monkeys make?” Your little one may not remember going to the zoo or know what sounds monkeys make because they’re too young, but you’re laying the groundwork for them to understand that what happens in the book can happen in real life. 

Why you should read to your kids now 

When you as a parent/caregiver demonstrate a positive relationship to reading, you’re instilling in them a love of learning that they can carry throughout their life. Besides exposing your kiddo to the wonderful world of words, you’re spending precious time together because before you know it, they’ll be a teenager asking to borrow the car. But you’ll be letting a fully developed bookworm borrow the car and that’s what matters.

Storytime with Snorble

Our smart companion is a great storyteller! These stories transport your kiddo to the magical world of Lullaboo where Snorble was born and provide tales of magic, wonder, and imagination in a way that promotes learning. 

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Photo by Nappy on Unsplash