Read to Toddlers
The Importance of Reading Aloud to Children
Do you take time to read with your child? If not, then your child is missing out on one of the greatest opportunities to enhance his or her growth during this critical developmental stage.
We will tell you why!
With parents and educators alike, there's an inherent interest in the role reading engagement plays in children's early literacy development, and how this correlates to the growth of academic achievement. While you may undoubtedly think that engaging in read aloud activities with your toddler may help your child learn to read, studies have actually found a rather weak correlation between reading out loud activities and reading acquisition.
However, don't let this deter you from reading aloud to your child EVERYDAY, because the benefits of read aloud activities are immense, and we will share with you some simple, yet extremely effective strategies of loud reading, that will confer benefits above an beyond normal reading sessions. And it is so easy!
Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children
First, let's take a quick look at the many benefits.
- Reading volume increases the achievement differences among children - children with more early literacy experiences go on to perform better academically.
- Read aloud activities provides an invaluable opportunity for the toddler to bond with the parent.
- Loud reading with children serves to greatly enhance the vocabulary growth in children, and promotes children's understanding of language and text.
- Studies have found that when stories are read out loud once, children understood 4% more word meanings before reading the story. When stories are read 3 times or more with word explanations, the children gained 14 to 29% more word meanings! Reading aloud books for children greatly enhances a child's vocabulary. [Vocabulary Development & Instruction, A. Biemiller].
- Regular reading activities not only introduces your child to the amazing world of reading, but it also helps to instill a love of reading in your child.
- Reading aloud familiarizes your child with print, and will help develop print awareness - one important step in developing literacy and reading skills.
- While reading out loud may not lead directly to young children learning to read, this activity certainly does help facilitate general literacy development.
As you can see from above, reading aloud benefits children in countless ways. If you are already reading regularly with your child, great! And if not, then why not? It's not too late to start! Take your child to a local book store and let him or her pick a favorite book (or several books). Pick a time to do some regular, daily reading - all you need is 10 minutes or so. One of the best times we highly recommend is right before bedtime. Take 10 to 15 minutes each night as "cool down" time, and read to your child.
In our family, our kids are read to at an very early age. Each night, they refuse to go to sleep without being read to.
Read alouds play a somewhat limited role in helping children learning to read. Research has show that direct contributors to reading acquisition is through the development of phonemic awareness and developing decoding and word recognition skills which are taught by direct instructions. However, within this context, there are certain strategies and extremely useful methods which you can use while reading aloud with your child that will greatly enhance the outcome of these reading sessions. There are simple methods which you can employ to help your child develop early print awareness and early phonemic awareness.
In fact, these strategies are so effective that when we applied it to our nightly reading sessions with our children, they developed early print and phonemic awareness at just a little over 1.5 years old! We discuss some of these strategies here.