The Importance of Reading in a Child’s Development

It’s undeniable that a child’s reading skills are important to their success in school, work, and life in general. And it is very possible to help ensure your child’s success by reading to them starting at a very early age. Here are some of the top reasons that reading to your children is beneficial to them in the long run.

Supported Cognitive Development

Reading to young children is proven to improve and help along the process of cognitive development. Cognitive development is the emergence of the ability to think and understand; it’s “the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood”.

It refers to how a person perceives and thinks about his or her world through areas such as information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory.

Improved Language Skills

Reading daily to young children, starting in infancy, can help with language acquisition and literacy skills. This is because reading to your children in the earliest months stimulates the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language and helps build key language, literacy and social skills.

In fact, a recent brain scan study found that “reading at home with children from an early age was strongly correlated with brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language” (TIME.com).

This is especially important when you consider that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than one in three American children start kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read.

About two-thirds of children can’t read proficiently by the end of the third grade.

Prepare for Academic Success

Reading to your child is a true one-on-one opportunity for children to communicate with their parents and parents to communicate with their children.

Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well when they reach their period of formal education.

According to a study completed by the University of Michigan, there are five early reading skills that are essential for development. They are:

  • Phonemic awareness – Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds in spoken words.
  • Phonics – Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.
  • Vocabulary – The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.
  • Reading comprehension – Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.
  • Fluency (oral reading) – Being able to read text accurately and quickly.

While children will encounter these skills once they reach elementary school and beyond, you can help jumpstart their reading success by reading to them during infancy and their early years.

When it comes to reading to your children, the benefits range far beyond the development of a close bond with them, although that’s certainly one of them.

Reading aloud to children is truly the single-most important activity for building these understanding and skills essential for reading success that your child will carry with them all throughout their life.

For more information about the importance of reading, or to book a consultation, contact Anel Annandale at 021 423 0739 or via email at  anel@childpsych.co.za.

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