- What are the benefits of reading books aloud?
- Why is reading aloud important?
- Children surveyed about parents reading books aloud
- What are the strategies for reading aloud?
Reading aloud to children is an essential part of their literacy development journey. You’ll be surprised at all of the benefits your child will gain from this simple bonding activity that is both fun and rewarding for both of you. We’re going to give you some great strategies and tips for reading aloud and share some fascinating statistics along the way too.
What are the benefits of reading books aloud?
Reading aloud to children is recommended from the time they are born. Babies and toddlers are sponges and getting into the habit of reading to them is a great thing to do. You should continue this habit well into their tweens too. Let’s look at what the benefits are.
Reading aloud benefits babies and toddlers
Did you know that the majority of your child’s brain development will happen within their first 3 years? Reading books aloud to them means that you are increasing their vocabulary and feeding their curious and knowledge-thirsty brains. As well as stimulating their mind, there are other reading-aloud benefits your baby will gain:
- Your baby or toddler loves to hear your voice. Reading to them is a soothing experience and a great activity for bonding. ❤️
- Books introduce your baby to exciting stories and different worlds, helping them feel and express emotions.
- Reading aloud is a good way to open up two-way communication once they can start talking.
Songs and rhymes are especially good for your little one because they usually have repetitive language, helping babies to learn.
To show you how important the early development years are, by just 18 months of age, a language and vocabulary gap is apparent between wealthier and poorer children. 😲 This signifies how important it is to read to your baby and constantly expose them to new words and sounds.
This important detail comes from a report titled “Language Unlocks Reading”, which we’ll look at more later. The report took its findings from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Literacy and other experts in associated fields.
The benefits of reading aloud to young children
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to reading aloud to young children (even when they can read). Reading aloud to them can help set them up for life as it supports them academically, emotionally, and creatively.
Let’s look at all the good you can do just from reading aloud to your child:
- Vocabulary building - reading helps expose your child to a wider variety and amount of words. In fact, it’s estimated that children who are regularly read aloud to in the 5 years before kindergarten are exposed to 1.4 million more words than those children who aren’t. 🔤
- Promotes reading - when you share quality time reading out loud to your child, they see reading as an enjoyable activity. Conversely, those that don’t have anyone read to them may see it as a chore and be more hesitant to read independently later on.
- Attention span - while your kid may start out distracted and fidgeting when you read aloud to them, they will settle down the more times you do this together. They learn to listen which makes them sit still longer and improves their attention span.
- Listening skills - your child will be able to enjoy far more stories you can read to them than they can read themselves. They will learn how different phrases go together and enhance their listening skills, especially if you’re adapting your voice for different characters and speaking at different speeds.
- Creativity - reading varied stories to them helps to capture their imaginations and touch upon their creativity. Opening up their little minds promotes healthy thinking and can even support their emotional health.
The “Language Unlocks Reading” report we mentioned earlier counted significant findings around the language level in young children:
- 23% of children with language difficulties when they’re 5 won’t have the expected standard in English when they finish primary school.
- Children with poor vocabulary at age 5 have more than twice as much probability of ending up unemployed at age 34.
Reading out loud benefits older children
You may be tempted to stop reading out loud to your child once they can read easily to themselves. However, researchers have found that verbal interactions (including reading) between parents and kids up to the age of 14 may lead to higher language and IQ scores.
So, what are the reading out loud benefits for your older children? 📚
- Even once children start reading to themselves, their listening skills are still stronger so they can expand their vocab and literary options more if you read to them from higher-level books.
- Books can be a launchpad for difficult topics you want to discuss. Choose a book with a theme you need to raise delicately and you can always discuss the issues through the eyes of the characters and have a meaningful talk about the storyline and why different events or issues happen etc.
- It can improve their comprehension, especially if they are following along as you read.
Why is reading aloud important for students?
Reading books aloud to students in classrooms also plays an important role. 🙌 One study looked at the reading out loud benefits for children in grades 5 and 6. Here are some of the major pros cited:
- Encourages students to ask more questions and look for answers, making them want to read more.
- Increases students’ fluency because the teacher is modelling fluency as they are reading.
- Exposes children to different types of genres.
Children surveyed about parents reading books aloud
In a survey conducted about reading aloud at home, the number 1 reason cited why children enjoy being read to is because of the special time they get to share with their parent/s. 💖 Don’t ever feel that reading to your child is your guilty pleasure alone!
The following results are based on whether (and to what degree) kids like(d) having books read aloud to them at home. The question was “Do you like it when you are read aloud to at home? OR Did you like being read books aloud to at home when you were younger?”.
Like(d) it a lot
Of the children surveyed who either like(d) it a lot, or love(d) it, these are the reasons why:
- 68% - It is/was a special time with my parent
- 64% - Reading together is/was fun
- 56% - It is/was relaxing to be read to before I go/went to sleep
- 45% - I like(d) to hear the different voices the person reading to me uses/used
- 39% - I get/got to listen to books that might be/may have been too hard for me to read on my own
- 37% - I get/got to talk about the books with the person reading to me
- 25% - I like(d) not having to do the reading by myself
Benefits that parents want for their child from reading aloud to them
The survey also asked parents of children aged 0-5 what are the top benefits they want their child to gain from reading aloud to them. Here were the responses:
- 85% - Developing vocabulary and language skills
- 80% - Using his/her imagination
- 69% - Becoming excited about reading
- 54% - Being successful in school
- 54% - Having time to relax
- 50% - Spending time away from technology
👍 All of the top reasons that parents listed align with the benefits experts have found to be true from reading to kids. However, one benefit that isn’t commonly cited by experts is spending time away from technology. This was important to parents and is yet another great reason to spend time reading together and this applies to all ages, not just 0-5-year-olds.
What are the strategies in reading aloud?
It’s likely you’ve already read countless books to your little one. As their parent, you really can’t go wrong. Just the sound of your voice is enough to serenade your child and make them feel happy by spending quality time together.
Here are some strategies to consider in case you aren’t using them already.
Consistency is key
Make reading a part of your daily routine. You should read the same books over and over again too because kids not only love hearing their favourite stories repeatedly but they learn through this type of repetition.
Your goal is to be an advocate for reading and entice your child to want more. Use different voices and be dramatic so the story really comes to life. 🎉
Make it relevant
Point out any relevant morals you want to share or connections between the storyline or character and your child’s life. For example, if you read about a kid sharing you could point out how lovely the gesture was and how important it is to share, or congratulate your child on sharing at nursery or school etc.
The benefits are clear when it comes to reading aloud to children. We think it’s great news and no doubt you do too. What is a fun and bonding experience, can also help your child academically and emotionally...win-win! ✨
You don’t need to stop as soon as they learn to read either. In fact, you should continue reading to them for as long as they like, just choose harder books that are slightly above their level and find subjects or stories that are interesting to them. After all, none of us ever stop learning and there is always another book to read. 😃
If your child is struggling with reading, spelling, or grammar, why not trust one of our expert tutors to help? Our tutors are all experts in their field and it’s their job and passion to find effective ways to explain and teach concepts that children find difficult. You can arrange a free trial lesson if you’re interested and see if it’s just the little boost that your kid needs.