Many parents believe that children will start reading by themselves at an appropriate age and that is when they should start getting books for reading. Contrary to this belief, reading books to kids till they start reading by themselves fluently is a vital aspect of early childhood development. Ability to read by oneself could start somewhere between the age of 5 and 7 depending upon on various factors. But one can start reading books to kids right from birth. In this blog, we will explore how reading books to kids from ages 0 to 6 can help them develop a passion for reading and other critical skills.

Reading out to kids can change their world

1. Developing a Passion for Reading

Reading books to kids helps foster a love for books and reading. It introduces them to different genres and types of stories, expanding their imagination and curiosity. According to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics, reading to young children regularly has a significant impact on their emergent literacy and language development. It also helps children build an understanding of language structure and grammar, which are crucial for reading comprehension later on.

2. Expanding Vocabulary and Literacy Skills

Reading to toddlers from an early age can help expand their vocabulary and strengthen their literacy skills. According to research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are read to regularly from a young age have larger vocabularies and stronger literacy skills than those who are not. This is because reading exposes children to a wide range of words and helps them understand how words are used in context.

3. Enhancing Cognitive Abilities

Reading books to children also has a positive impact on their cognitive abilities. According to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, reading to young children stimulates brain development and enhances cognitive abilities. It improves their ability to focus, concentrate, and process information.

4. Strengthening Emotional Bonds

Reading out to kids can also strengthen the emotional bond between parents and their children. Reading together can be a comforting and nurturing experience that helps children feel secure and loved. It can promote positive parent-child relationships, improve social-emotional development, and enhance parent-child communication. It can also help children develop empathy and emotional intelligence as they learn about the characters and their experiences in the stories.

Furthermore, reading together can also provide opportunities for parents to discuss important topics with their children, such as kindness, diversity, and empathy. It can help children develop a sense of morality and encourage them to become kind, empathetic individuals.

Successful Programs across the globe

Many institutions have implemented reading programs to help children develop a love for reading and improve their literacy skills. For example, in the United States, the Reach Out and Read program is a national non-profit organization that partners with healthcare providers to encourage parents to read aloud to their young children. The program provides books to families and emphasizes the importance of reading to young children.

Another successful model is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides free books to children from birth to age five. The program operates in many countries worldwide. It aims to promote early childhood literacy and foster a love for reading. Studies have shown that children who participate in such programs have stronger early literacy skills, a greater love for reading and are more likely to succeed in school than those who do not.

In conclusion, reading books aloud to kids up to 6 years old can have a profound impact on their development. It can help foster a love for reading, expand their vocabulary and literacy skills, enhance their cognitive abilities, promote positive parent-child relationships, and encourage children to develop empathy and emotional intelligence. By reading to young children regularly, we can help prepare them for academic success and a lifetime of learning.

| Jayagovind C V (3rd March 2023)

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1. High, P. C., Klass, P., & Council on Early Childhood. (2019). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics, 144(4), e20192519.

2. Mendelsohn, A. L., Brockmeyer, C. A., Dreyer, B. P., Fierman, A. H., Berkule-Silberman, S. B., Tomopoulos, S., & Council on Early Childhood. (2019). Reading aloud to children: Literacy outcomes and evidence-based practices. Pediatrics, 144(4), e20191734.

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