As a reading teacher it is embarrassing to admit it took me almost a year and a half to get into a routine of reading with Dean every night. I often try to find things that just him and I do since I feel like I miss out on so much time with him while I’m at work. Reading before bed is an activity for just him and I. It started as him just watching the book and listening, then slowly he started turning pages. Now he is pointing to the pictures and trying to repeat words I say. I love board books at this age, they tend to be short and the pages are easy to turn. Our local library has a big selection and I let him pick one each week when we go for story time.
This is the book case Ryan created for Dean it is super cute and made mostly from stuff from Ikea. The “shelves” are picture holders and the metal rods for the baskets is a towel bar for the bathroom. This was taken before he was walking, it often doesn’t look like this now. And here’s Dean’s favorite book. It’s super cute and he giggles the entire time.
I wanted to share these reasons why you should read to your kids, I found it online years ago and now send it home to parents at the beginning of each school year.
1. A stronger relationship with you. As your child grows older, he’ll be on the move playing, running, and constantly exploring his environment. Snuggling up with a book lets the two of you slow down and recaptures that sweet, cuddly time you enjoyed when he was a baby. Instead of being seen as a chore or a task, reading will become a nurturing activity that will bring the two of you closer together.
2. Academic excellence. One of the primary benefits of reading to toddlers and preschoolers is a higher aptitude for learning in general. Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. After all, if a student struggles to put together words and sentences, how can he be expected to grasp the math, science, and social concepts he’ll be presented with when he begins elementary school?
3. Basic speech skills. Throughout toddlerhood and preschool, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, your child is reinforcing the basic sounds that form language. “Pretend reading”when a toddler pages through a book with squeals and jabbers of delight, is a very important pre-literacy activity. As a preschooler, your child will likely begin sounding out words on his own.
4. The basics of how to read a book. Children aren’t born with an innate knowledge that text is read from left to right, or that the words on a page are separate from the images. Essential pre-reading skills like these are among the major benefits of early reading.
*THIS ONE! You would be shocked at how many kids I get that don’t know we read left to right, top to bottom. Show them with your finger as you read to help them understand.
5. Better communication skills. When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.
6. Mastery of language. Early reading for toddlers has been linked to a better grasp of the fundamentals of language as they approach school age.
7. More logical thinking skills. Another illustration of the importance of reading to children is their ability to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgment. As your toddler or preschooler begins to relate the scenarios in books to what’s happening in his own world, he’ll become more excited about the stories you share.
8. Acclimation to new experiences. As your child approaches a major developmental milestone or a potentially stressful experience, sharing a relevant story is a great way to help ease the transition. For instance, if your little one is nervous about starting preschool, reading a story dealing with this topic shows her that her anxiety is normal.
*There are so many great books out there that deal with specific situations. I plan on finding ones for Dean about Cerebral Palsy and wearing braces as he gets older.
9. Enhanced concentration and discipline. Toddlers may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but eventually they’ll learn to stay put for the duration of the book. Along with reading comprehension comes a stronger self-discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention, all of which will serve your child well when she enters school.
10. The knowledge that reading is fun! Early reading for toddlers helps them view books as an indulgence, not a chore. Kids who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books over video games, television, and other forms of entertainment as they grow older.