We have a small library in JJs room because of the Scholastic book club. I spend $10-$20 on books every month because they have such great deals if you are trying to grow a personal library. I have a masters in education and although, I’m not teaching anymore, how could I ever forget what I learned during my time as a teacher. I’ve made reading an integral part of our children’s lives by reading to them every single day.
Joel and Elle are read to before their afternoon naps and again right before bed time. This is a habit that we instilled when they both were only months old.
I know I don’t have to tell you that reading to our kids is a good thing—but are you familiar with the specific advantages your toddler or preschool-age child can receive by being exposed to the merits of reading?
Reading to your child creates 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.¹ Joel literally begs to be read to before his nap and bedtime and even at the dinner table. Sometimes I’m so exhausted that the idea of reading a 20 page book just isn’t something I’m willing to do, so I encourage him to pic a shorter book versus saying “No”. I’m just so happy that he loves being read to.
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?²
Reading to your child helps them develop basic speech skills. Throughout toddlerhood and preschool, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read, 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.³ I’ve often found Joel sitting in his bed with a book narrating the story to himself and he enjoys reading to his baby sister. It’s a delightful sight!