The benefits of reading to children

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Productivity on June 28, 2022
Reading time is a great way for children to develop language skills, and focus on thinking skills that can help them with brain development.

    Reading to children provides them with a lot of great benefits. Not only are the benefits of reading important to help young children learn, but story time activities centered around children’s books can increase reading skills and foster language development. Additionally, reading time is a great way for children to develop language skills, and focus on thinking skills that can help them with brain development. Here’s what to consider, when reading to children.

    Why reading to a child matters

    Medical professionals who work in the field of pediatrics understand the importance of reading, and how it can lead to a longer attention span. When someone reads to a child, that also helps foster a love of reading in that child. Children can use books to explore their world, and learn about different concepts that interest them. When children can read well, learning about other subjects may be easier, too.

    The cognitive development of a child is extremely important when it comes to giving them a good future. Reading to a child from an early age can help strengthen the parent-child connecting. When parents read to their children, they also show those children how much value they can find in books. There is both knowledge and entertainment found in reading, and being read to can make a world of difference for children before they learn to read on their own, and if they have trouble processing written words.

    How reading affects a child’s development

    Reading affects a child’s development in several ways. Reading books is a great way for children to learn new words and phrases. It also encourages a child’s imagination, and helps them improve their literacy skills. Older children may want to take over reading on their own, while children who are still in very young age groups might prefer to have someone read to them, instead. Either way, children can experience interactions and a higher sense of well-being from reading and being read to by others.

    Another way that children benefit from being read to is through the development of listening skills and communication skills. Both of those areas are very important to child development, and children who are read to from a young age typically excel at listening, processing that information, and communicating it to others, when compared to their peers. Hearing books read to them can be an immersive experience, and for any children who may struggle with dyslexia or other reading issues, being read to is life-changing.

    Cliff Weitzman, founder of Speechify is a great example of a child who enjoyed being read to. Watch his story.

    There are important reasons to read aloud to children

    Stations like PBS often have read-a-thon types of programming. They have shows where someone reads aloud, and that can keep children interested in following the story and seeing what happens next. Being read to can make a significant difference in a child’s life. As children get older, they may also benefit from having their school assignments and books read aloud to them. Some children retain information much more easily this way, which can drastically affect how well they perform in the classroom.

    Early childhood is a critical time to help children learn all they can about language, and establish a daily routine that includes reading. Visits to the local library can help with that, as can reading a child bedtime stories that they look forward to. Independent reading should also be encouraged, but not every child retains information as well as others do. Children who struggle with issues that make it difficult for them to read printed words and retain their meaning can benefit from hearing those words read aloud.

    Reading to a child supports cognitive development

    Children who are read to when they’re young often have faster development of communication skills and basic speech skills. They may also have more discipline, along with enhanced levels of concentration. Telling stories to children, and even engaging them in video games from an early age, can help a child’s brain develop more fully. These children will generally have better memory retention, and can also develop empathy because they experience a wide range of emotions through the characters in stories.

    Providers who work with children in medical settings, or who help children who have cognitive or learning difficulties, often have a selection of board books to encourage children to read. Young kids may not be able to read on their own, but their parents or other adults can read to them. Older siblings and friends can also read to younger children, and they can all share the emotions of the characters in the story.

    When a caregiver reads to children, they enrich their own lives and the lives of the children at the same time. They also help the children develop good social skills, because reading often produces interaction and discussion that can be applied to real-world situations. Understanding how a fictional character handles an issue in their life makes it easier for children to make the right choices for issues that appear in their own life or the lives of friends and family members they care about.


    Why is reading to a child important?

    Reading books out loud to children gets them thinking, and exercises their imagination. That expands how well they understand the world, along with improving their listening and language skills. Children who are read to are more prepared to read on their own, and understand written words and their meanings.

    How does reading affect a child’s development?

    Reading stimulates a child’s brain, encouraging it to grow and become more active. When a child is read to, their reading comprehension and vocabulary improve. Additionally, children who are read to can build confidence, develop more empathy, and expand their imagination more easily.

    What are the most important purposes for reading children’s books?

    There are several great purposes for reading aloud to children. Being read to can help children improve their concentration and memory, and exercise their brain. Reading aloud to children also helps those children discover information about other parts of the world. When children are read to, they can develop empathy and expand their language skills, all while enhancing their imagination and boosting their critical thinking abilities.

    Reading really is fundamental. Whether a child hasn’t yet learned to read on their own, or they struggle with printed words but not spoken ones, reading out loud to children makes a difference. Parents, educators, and others who read to children are helping those children develop critically important, extremely valuable skills. Those skills will benefit children as they grow and learn, but also as they move into adulthood. What children learn in their early years has the potential to shape their educational experiences for the long term.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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