While learning to read independently is necessary for a child’s growth and development, there are also many important benefits of reading aloud to your child. This post takes you through some of the key benefits of reading to children and gives you prompts on what sort of questions to ask and things to say to engage your child while doing so!
From enhanced literary skills to a stronger parent-child bond between you, there’s no doubt you’ll want to make reading aloud with your child part of your daily routine.
8 Benefits of Reading Aloud
- Enhances their literacy and reading skills
- Enhances their language skills
- Creates a stronger parent-child bond
- Better concentration and discipline
- Improves performance in school
- Widens their imagination
- Promotes healthy brain development
- Keeps them entertained
Enhances Their Literary and Reading Skills
“Let’s have a look and see how this story starts”
This is definitely one of the best benefits of reading aloud to your child! Naturally, the more children are engaged in reading, the stronger their literary and reading skills will become! If children are read aloud to, especially while following along with the book themselves, they will get more and more familiar with wider vocabulary. Hearing words while seeing them on the page will help your child associate sounds with words, prompting them to become better independent readers when they get older and more confident.
Enhance Their Language Skills
“Look, there’s your name again”
As well as reading and literacy skills, your little one will have much improved language skills if they are read aloud to! If they are engaged with another person during reading time, they’ll learn to communicate with them about the story, rather than keep their thoughts to themselves.
A fantastic study called “Reading Aloud To Children: The Evidence” by E Duursma, M. Augustyn and B. Zuckerman revealed that engaging in “decontextualized” talk while reading aloud is especially great for language enhancement! This means relating the story to the child. For example, if there is ice cream involved in the story, you could say to your child “you like ice cream!” This creates conversation between you and your child, keeps them involved in the story, and hopefully prompts them to continue discussing the book. It’s definitely one of the best read aloud strategies for parents!
Creates a Stronger Parent-Child Bond
“What do you think, can we help?”
We all know life can be a bit manic sometimes, and we often run out of time to do the things we need to do! While it can be easy to sit your child down in front of the TV, with a game, or on their own with a book, reading aloud with your child for just 20 minutes a day can really strengthen your bond!
Reading aloud to your child lets you spend quality time with them, and your little one will be more engaged with reading if you’re involved too! It gives you the opportunity to enjoy an activity together, which is a special time you’ll really treasure when they’re all grown up! Also, by making reading a fun, joint activity, your little one will be more likely to look forward to story time which in turn will improve their literacy, reading, and language skills even more!
Better Concentration and Discipline
“Oh look, where has he got a lightning bolt?”
If you’re involved in story time with your child, they’re much more likely to concentrate on their book and not be distracted! Hearing your voice will prompt them to focus on the words and absorb the story they’re being told, with their minds less likely to wander elsewhere. Especially if read aloud time becomes part of a routine for you and your little one, they’re much more likely to get used to concentrating on what they’re doing and make the most out of their reading time.
As we all know, this is a skill that will prove very important in school to help them make the most of their lessons, which leads us on to the next benefit…
Improves Their Performance in School
“What shape is that?”
Research has consistently shown that children who are read aloud to by their parents for as little as 20 minutes a day perform better in school, since they develop skills that put them ahead of their peers! Reading aloud to your little one also helps build their confidence, since it reassures them about the sounds of the words they’re reading, which is important for thriving in a school environment.
From heightened involvement in classroom discussions and better results on tests, reading aloud to your little one will certainly prepare them with the skills they’ll need to do well in school!
Widens Their Imagination
“Horses don’t say Moo, what is it that he should say?”
There’s no better way to let your child’s imagination run wild than with a good book! Sitting down with your child and reading to them can open their minds to a whole new world beyond their own, letting them escape into an exciting story and learn something new! If you read aloud to your child, they’re more likely to become engaged in the story you’re reading and really throw themselves into the adventure.
This is especially great if parents made sound effects or put on voices when reading to their child, since it makes the child feel even more like they are in an exciting new world and engage them fully in the story! This is a fantastic technique for helping open your child’s mind and develop their imaginative skills, which are so necessary for improved thinking!
Promotes Healthy Brain Development
“And what does this say?”
Reading aloud to your child is so important for healthy brain development and is a crucial way they can engage the different parts of their brain! For children of any age, regions in the left part of the brain will be awoken, which helps them understand words and improve their memory.
Being read aloud to also means children will learn to listen and read along at the same time, as well as communicate about the story, which is brilliant for stronger brain development in childhood!
Keeps Them Entertained
If you’re looking for new ways to entertain your child, besides playing on tablets or sticking them in front of the TV, then reading aloud is a great way to keep them occupied! While children can often get distracted easily, if you read aloud with your little one, they’ll be sure to be even more engaged in the book they’re reading.
Especially in this digital age, it can be so easy to turn children towards their favorite devices and online games as a way of keeping them entertained. However, reading aloud with your child and engaging with them can give them a sense of achievement and happiness as they feel like they are connecting with you and learning something!
Statistics on Reading Aloud to Your Child
As well as these fantastic benefits, we’ve also got some interesting statistics on reading aloud to your child!
The Kids & Family Reading Report from Scholastic has some fascinating data on reading aloud to children, showing the benefits and rewards of spending this time with your little one. It has also been proven that reading aloud to children doesn’t just have benefits for the child, but actually has positive impacts for the whole family! Pam Allyn, Senior Vice President, stated that:
Read-aloud is a prescription for lifelong success for the child and a dose of deep well-being for the family.
Scholastic discovered that more than 80% of both kids and parents across all income levels love reading aloud, or like it a lot! Also, kids aged 6-11 who actively take part in read-aloud time with their parents by asking questions or making funny noises or sound effects are more likely than other children to become frequent readers.
It’s amazing how engaged children seem to be during read-aloud time! According to the report, 85% of children ask questions during read-aloud time by the time they’re 8 years old, showing that they are really learning and becoming intrigued by story time! Also, 72% of parents have been asking questions when reading aloud to babies and toddlers aged 2 and under, which is brilliant! Asking questions is great for enhancing little ones’ learning further, since it encourages them to listen and communicate with you.
Despite all the wonderful benefits of reading aloud to your child, only 55% of children aged 0-5 are read aloud to at home for at least 5 days a week, and only 37% are read aloud to daily! It’s also been discovered that reading aloud seems to peak when a child is 5 years old, despite reading aloud having so many benefits for older children too. Parents have declared that read aloud time stops when the child can more confidently read independently, even though continuing to read aloud still has important benefits.
In more positive news, there was an encouraging increase in the number of 6-8 year olds being read aloud compared to 2016, with the percentage rising from 38% to 45%!
The benefits of reading aloud to your child go far beyond childhood and school life! It’s been discovered that reading aloud to your little one for 20 minutes a day can even increase their lifetime earnings. This shows that reading aloud has significant benefits that last right through to adulthood and can impact their ability to start a successful career.