Reading is essential to just about everything in life, from cooking, to driving, to just getting through school. It is important to teach our children early on about the value of reading so that they will grow to practice it often. All of us are very busy but finding just 20 minutes each day for 5 days per week to read to your child (approximately 87 hours per yea) benefits them in so many ways. For example:
- Reading is "brain food" - Reading activates and exercises many of the areas of the brain. The visual cortex works as your eyes track the words on the page and look at the illustrations. Your memory connects the information that you already know with the story and its content, while integrating the new information to further strengthen your growing network of knowledge.
- Reading improves listening skills - By reading to your child you help them develop good listening skills, add new words to their vocabularies, and connect words to their real world applications.
- Practice makes perfect - The more your child is exposed to reading and books the stronger their reading abilities tend to be. The best way to get better is to read.
- Reading improves academic performance and expands their vocabulary - Having strong reading skills helps a student to succeed and thrive in school because so much of our schooling relies on the ability to read. As they read they will come across words that they don't know, which will prompt them to find out what the word means and as a result increase their personal vocabulary.
- Reading helps to build independence and self confidence - Though reading, they can begin to understand the world on their own and as they become better readers their self confidence will grow.
- Reading enhances their imagination - Reading forces the reader to use the details in the story to picture in their minds what the characters look like, who they are, and what the setting looks like.
- Reading improves writing and grammar skills - Through reading children are exposed to the author's use of sentence structure and grammar, which in turn helps the child to build vocabulary, communication, and grammar skills of their own.