When we talk about reading and learning language from an early age, it’s more challenging to narrow the benefits to just five important points.
Here, we explore only some of the greatest reasons why we should be reading to our children from birth and when they’ll start to show you a keen interest in return.
Curiosity & Imagination
Children love nothing more than jumping into a world of make-believe. Imagination is one of the key elements of childhood and what better way to learn than in alternate worlds? Think classic books like Enid Blyton’s ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’, where even the children we’re learning about in the book jumped to yet another ‘make believe’ land and explored.
Children learn to make predictions, imagine what they would do if placed in the same situation, and even later, role play by dressing up as the characters – what fun!
Without a doubt, reading increases a child’s ability to communicate. The additional exposure children have to words that outreach their current vocabulary, the more likely they are to extend their understanding of words but communicate more succinctly.
Storytelling ignites all sorts of learning. When children are following along in the books, they’re not only becoming familiar with letters and the sounds they make when put together they’re learning to understand and comprehend storylines.
They’re also subject to important problem-solving tasks. Children will start to relate to the characters and as they begin to find themselves in certain situations, they’ll start to problem-solve their way out of it.
Most parents report their own children to have a lack of focus at the best of times, especially if it comes to picking up their toys or other mundane tasks they’re asked to do! Storytime greatly increases concentration and focus.
Later years development
School readiness is a big part of the conversation when it comes to early learning. We’re preparing our children to become willing learners with a thirst for knowledge and understanding of the world around them. This study, carried out by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research states that “Children read to more frequently at age 4-5 achieve higher scores on the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests for both Reading and Numeracy in Year 3 (age 8 to 9)”
What age should you start?
The research is clear – the earlier, the better. Children will start to show an interest in books from 3-4 months and show recognition of pictures from as early as six months. Reading encourages a love of learning so children will be ready to take on their own reading when they are able – but that’s not to say that you still can’t whip out your childhood favourites and enjoy them together!