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The importance (and beauty) of reading with your child by Suzi Stillwell

A mother reading to her child

As a mother of two girls, one of the most special parts of parenting has been sharing my love of the written word, books and the art of storytelling with my children. Reading to our children is important in so many ways – here I explore some of the reasons I believe sharing books is both critical and magical.

 

Emotional attachment

Any time spent snuggled in a chair or curled up in bed with a book is time well spent. Children thrive when we invest our time in them and reading time is valuable for bonding and communicating. As well as the educational benefits, the emotional benefit is enormous and surely comes top of the list of reasons why reading to children is essential.

 

Development

There is no age too early to share a book with a child. Reading is important even when children are babies and toddlers. When we speak, and in some ways even more so when we read, children are listening to the sounds we are making. In ‘phonics speak’ we refer to these sounds in words as phonemes. *to learn more about the benefits of phonics click here.

 

Children listen to the rhythm and patterns of our speech, they hear the pauses, the intonation and the way the sounds flow together. Ultimately, they link what they hear with language. The greater exposure we can give children to the spoken word, the more we support their language development. As children get older, they watch us follow words on the page. They see how we turn the pages and begin to understand that text flows from left to right along the page and that we find meaning from the top of the page to the bottom. Sharing a book gives even the youngest children the very foundations of understanding in how we speak, the way we write, and the words we use to communicate.

 

Vocabulary acquisition

When children are read to (and later when they can read themselves) they are exposed to a huge range of vocabulary. The wonderful thing about meeting new words whilst reading – rather than in isolation or in an academic setting – is that the words are heard in context. This provides children with a much better understanding of the words they hear. Reading to our children gives us the opportunity to discuss new words and enhance their understanding even further. The wider the range of books we share with our children therefore, the wider the range of vocabulary they will encounter, giving them a great head start in all subjects they will later go on to study.

 

Reading as a determiner of future success

At The Phonics School we are proud to make use of the learning resources created by the internationally known company Pearson. According to Pearson: ‘Reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.’ If as parents we model a love of reading and make sharing a book a special time which children associate with closeness with their caregiver, we can foster a love of reading which will open doors for our children’s future prospects as well as their future enjoyment of all that the world of literature has to offer.

 

The beauty

If children regularly see their caregivers reading, they are more likely to see reading as an important and pleasurable activity. When we read to children, we allow them to access the most magical worlds. Even once our children can read themselves, reading aloud to them allows them to hear how the phrasing work in longer and more complex sentences. It allows them the chance to discuss and make sense of what they are reading, to hear the correct use of expression and even to access texts which they are ready for in terms of maturity which perhaps outstrip their current reading ability. We have the gift of taking away the hard work early readers need to put in to discover a text when we read aloud. By showing them the amazing worlds hidden in books, we can unlock doors to the world and enrich their vocabulary and lives - if only we take the time to read with our children. One of our most sacred family routines is the bedtime story, a quiet safe time to share stories or information books and to talk about what we read together. We make connections as a family, my children are safe to explore emotions and situations they haven’t yet come across in real life and we find out information together when we share non-fiction books.

 

 

If you would like some tips on how to engage with reluctant readers or our recommended reads for different ages, please send us a message: Get in touch.


We would love to hear from you, and to share our love of reading with you and your children.

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