If you’ve been wondering if all that reading out loud to your toddler has been doing any good, we can assure you, yes, it has! You’re totally not alone in wondering that either.
Reading to our kids helps them build important lifelong skills, such as language, social, emotional, and behavioral skills.
From the pictures that may pop out of them to the wild and wacky stories our children so adamantly love, reading is such a nurturing experience to share with your child.
Feel confident that your nightly storytime routine or occasional book session is doing wonders for building up your tot’s developmental skills.
Let’s break down all the good stuff you’re doing when you open those pages!
Reading Aloud Builds Their Language Skills
There is a motherlode of language skills that you help cultivate every time you pop open a book, be it a fresh new one off the superstore shelves, or the dog-eared paperback that never misses a nightly reading (because yeah, your toddler insists!).
Books are one of the best ways to introduce children to the beauty and complexity of language. Reading to your toddler is a great way to expose them to more words, which in turn helps them improve their vocabulary.
The more words your child has heard, the more words they have to play with, communicate, and use to make connections in their world.
Think of the unusual words that are tucked inside books that you probably don’t say too often. All that reading adds up
When kids hear words as part of a story, they also learn how they are used meaningfully. This is so much better and way more valuable than just seeing those same words in flashcards.
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Their Comprehension Improves
It’s tempting to point things out or make comments while reading picture books to kids, and we wholeheartedly say, DO IT!
When you read and discuss the story as you read, you naturally support your child in making different connections — to themselves, to their world, and to other books. This deepens their comprehension.
Even if your child can’t (or doesn’t) answer back yet, their brain is still making important connections to the book at hand and to your commentary.
Ask questions and make comments, like
- “How did that story make you feel?”
- “Oh, remember when we went to the zoo, just like in this book!”
- “See how this book talks about brushing your teeth?”
You’re also exposing your toddler to reading as a whole — how to hold a book, turn a page, inflect or change your voice to show ranges of emotion…so many good things!
Heightened Awareness of Sounds
Listening to others speak and read is important in learning how to decipher sounds and decode words. The more you talk, the more experience your child has to listen to sounds and to learn to replicate those sounds themselves.
This also helps your child learn how to string sentences together. Just as we recommend you keep talking to your child, keep reading!
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It Develops Social Skills, Too
Reading together also positively influences your toddler’s development in that the relationship between you strengthens.
They trust you that you will be there with open arms (or an open lap!) during this precious bonding time. Not only that, reading to your child fosters a sense of well-being and intimacy as they snuggle up close to you.
Try to do this on a regular basis, like every evening before bed.
It Teaches Emotional Skills
Reading to your child provides them with a safe environment to think about and express their feelings and it’s an easy way to expose your toddler to new situations, aka, the sometimes-scary word, change.
If you’re thinking about potty training, moving, or are about to bring home a new family member (furry or not), books are an easy way to help your child understand the emotions behind what is taking place.
It Creates New Things To Explore
Books can be some of the best kid-friendly teaching tools. They show children what appropriate behavior and routines can look like, like brushing their teeth or taking a nightly bath.
Your local library is probably full of kids’ books about going to school, sitting at the dinner table, saying thank you, asking please, being patient, and even about unwanted behavior, like hitting, biting, or saying unkind things to others.
This is particularly valuable during the pandemic when our travel is quite limited. We may not be able to go to foreign countries, but we can visit them through books.
We hope this was an affirmation for you, Mama, that whether you read to your child every day or every time you get around to it, you’re doing amazing and incredibly beneficial things for your toddler’s development.
Now that you’ve read all about the benefits of reading to your toddler, check out our tips on how to do it.
So, how often do you read to your child? Do you have a reading routine or are you thinking of creating one? Share with us below!
For resources to help you get started with reading to your kids, check out the Reach Out and Read website.