Why Reading is Important for Babies and Young Children

Why Reading is Important for Babies and Young Children

Babies and young children learn and develop through everyday hands-on experiences. Reading books and stories to your child, singing songs, and sharing rhymes can help their development in many ways.

For example, reading boosts language and literacy skills, promotes creativity, and allows children to express their thoughts and emotions verbally. Acquisition of language is one of the early childhood’s most significant achievements that determines academic, personal, and professional success later in life.

The Benefits of Reading

Talking and reading to babies and young children promotes brain development and boosts the child’s cognitive skills. Communication between adults and children promotes social and emotional development.  Reading rhymes and stories aloud to babies is one of the best ways to stimulate your child’s brain development. 

Reading books and stories to young children also can:

  • Help your child expand their vocabulary
  • Help your child learn sounds and words
  • Increase their exposure to language and boost early literacy skills
  • Improve their listening skills
  • Spark your child’s imagination and creativity
  • Spur their curiosity 
  • Provide an opportunity to bond with your child
  • Instill a love for reading and learning
  • Enhance memory, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills
  • Improve your child’s communication and social skills
  • Teach them impulse control and patience
  • Improve your child’s attention span and ability to focus
  • Help them distinguish between reality and make-believe
  • Nurtures your child’s social and emotional development
  • Teach your child about the world
  • Promote diversity and acceptance, teaching your child about your own and other cultures

Reading and Language Development

Language and literacy are the backbones of a child’s future learning, and books are the best way to promote language, literacy, and speech development in babies and young children.

Reading stories helps young kids learn the alphabet at a young age. It teaches them letters and enables them to learn sounds, words, and language. It develops the child’s ability to use language to express their feelings and build a strong foundation for the later abstract thinking processes. 

Reading to Your Child

Studies show that books with many colourful images, contrast, and illustrations are the most stimulating for the baby’s brain.

Here are a few tips for reading to babies and young children.

  • Start reading to your baby from the earliest days. 
  • Make reading a part of your daily routine and share a variety of picture books, nursery rhymes, alphabet books, and any other age-appropriate books that you or your child find interesting. 
  • While reading aloud, show pictures in the book to your child, point to various objects and make sure to name them. 
  • Ask your toddler to recognise the letters of the words and the sounds each letter makes.
  • Allow the toddler to choose the book to read
  • Encourage preschoolers to trace and write the letters and to identify uppercase and lowercase letters. 
  • Share stories that display a variety of characters and social situations to help your child understand the emotional expression and develop empathy

Key Takeaways 

  • Babies and young children enjoy books and stores. Take advantage of this natural interest to instill the love for learning.
  • Reading and storytelling promotes brain development in infants and young children.
  • Reading sparks creativity and imagination, promotes language and literacy development, and encourages emotional expression.
  • Singing songs and rhymes also nurtures early literacy skills.
  • Reading books together helps bond with your child, promoting secure attachment.

Below are a number of useful resources for more information on this topic:

https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/play-learning/literacy-reading-stories/reading-storytelling 

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/books/how-to-raise-a-reader

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/documents/about/research/readtoyoungchild.pdf

 

 

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