Why read with your Child?

15th November 2021

Dr Mary O'Kane from Perfectly Imperfect Parenting, reminds us that I f you read one book to your child every day, by their 5th birthday they will have heard 1825 books!

Children who are read aloud to go on to read the most, read the best, and stay in school the longest. More importantly, spending time with your child and sharing the enjoyment of a good book will mean stronger parent-child bonds. Research in the UK found that most children cited memories of being read to as some of their best childhood memories. It's not so much the story, it is the feeling of love and security that is even more important. It is a time of real physical closeness and can be one of the most unhurried times we have with our children.

Try to start reading to them from birth. Research shows much development of the brain occurs in the first three years of a child’s life — and one of the best ways to build a strong base for language and cognitive development is to read and talk to your babies.

Babies and Toddlers: Best ways to read out loud:
• Let the child turn pages.
• Point to pictures, and name objects.
• Make sound effects, put on voices.
• Read with expression and enthusiasm!

Make sure to include books about feelings and emotions – they can be a great way to teach your values. Provide variety, but little ones love repetition, they will probably want their favourite book read over and over again!

As they get older, keep asking open ended questions – what would they have done? Think of alternative endings - maybe Cinderella left the prince at the alter and went to Australia to work in a Koala sanctuary instead!

Primary School: Best ways to read out loud:
• Ask open ended questions
• Think of alternative endings
• Add in some non-fiction books
• Add some challenging topics

As they become older and become more independent readers, we tend to stop reading to them, but even older children love reading time with their parents and being read to.

Try to put it into practice, 15 minutes a day reading to your child.