As you read this, your brain is accomplishing a very important feat that you developed many years ago - reading. It is an ability that sets us apart from other species, by allowing us to store and share knowledge in a unique and profoundly more effective way. Reading to children increases brain power by building new neural connections and strengthening old ones. Reading to young kids has been shown to have many benefits:
- Strengthens the development of memory, focus and concentration
- Helps develop vocabulary, which provides them an edge on professional and academic achievement in the future.
- Studies have shown that differences in language environments can lead to upwards of a 30 million word gap* between kids who grew up in households with more reading vs. those with less (Hart and Risley, 1995; Sperry, Sperry, & Miller, 2018). While specific details of the exact number of words is under debate, these studies highlight the importance of communication and reading at home.
- Can be used to teach your children important life skills (eg. potty training or bath time)
- Is great bonding opportunity for kids with their parents, siblings or other relatives
- Helps develop critical thinking skills
- Improves a child’s ability to access and interpret the world around them
- Help’s kids better express themselves and their emotions (The Emotions Pack is specifically designed for this)
- Is associated with stress reduction and shown to have calming effects on both children and parents (Interactive books are particularly helpful with this)
- Helps build curiosity, imagination, and an inquisitive nature
- Helps develop cultural literacy and learn the difference between right and wrong
Several studies have shown that the single most important activity for building these understandings and skills essential for reading success appears to be reading aloud to children (Wells 1985; Bus, Van Ijzendoorn, & Pellegrini 1995). Through immersive reading, an individual can acquire a years of a writers’ experiences, within a short time span. By starting early, you can inculcate a love of reading that can later transform into a lifetime affair with books and learning.
Read our blog on How To Read To Your Child At Each Age Group for specific information on how you can get started. You can see our page for the top books selected by teachers and parents to help with your child's development.