Grab your favorite children’s books and start reading! Even from early infancy, reading to your baby teaches them to recognize sounds and rhythm of language—not to mention it’s a great bonding exercise. Studies show that children who are routinely read to from a young age develop improved language skills and an increased interest in reading.
So what’s happening when you read aloud to your child? Child development expert Helen Hadani, Ph.D., Head of Research at Center for Childhood Creativity, shares four educational and cognitive benefits that are taking place as you read a storybook to your little one:
During your regular storytime sessions, your child has an opportunity to ask and answer questions about the story. This can lead to parent-child conversations later on about the content of the story and provide opportunities for teaching moments.
As you read aloud, your child is developing listening skills. It’s an opportunity for your child to practice focusing and tuning out distractions, which are important skills as your toddler prepares for school.
When children listen to you read a story, they have to remember the characters and events in the tale to follow along and make sense of the plot line.
When children hear stories, they create images that represent the characters and events in the story. An important cognitive shift that occurs in the preschool years is the development of symbolic representation—the ability to mentally represent concrete objects, actions, and events. That is what children are doing when they hear stories and picture the characters and events in their head.
Try to make reading part of your daily routine. It helps your child develop important cognitive skills while also giving you a chance to spend time with your favorite person.
To learn more about school readiness, read Reimagining School Readiness: A Position Paper with Key Findings by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum.