08 Jul Once Upon a Time…
Once upon a time, it was practically unheard of for children to go to bed without a bedtime story. It seems a shame then that a recent study found that although more parents read to their children than they did a generation ago, approximately two thirds of parents today still do not read regularly to their children. Of course, with ever increasing demands on our time something has to give. But do you know the benefits of snuggling up to your little ones with a book?
Childcare specialists talk of the importance of establishing a routine for children and of preparing them for sleep by ‘winding down’ before bed. A bedtime story is a fantastic way to separate the hustle and bustle of the daytime activities and the quieter, calmer time before bed.
Communication and Comprehension
It’s in the pre-school years that children learn critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read, your child is reinforcing the basic sounds that form language. In later years, by listening to stories read aloud and following along with the story, children see and hear how to pronounce words correctly. You will find that your child’s vocabulary grows and they become better at expressing how they feel and think about what you are reading.
As Stacey Sheppard, freelance writer and author of the popular interior design blog The Design Sheppard told Dormeo ‘Reading is something I love to do with my own children. My eldest daughter is almost two and a half and people always comment on how good her language and vocabulary is. I definitely put this down to all the reading we do. I want my kids to develop their imaginations and what better way than through reading stories?’
Stacey is absolutely right. Studies have proven the link between reading and vocabulary as well as showing that the greater a child’s vocabulary, the better their later reading comprehension across the subjects.
Later on, reading helps to develop ‘Communication Confidence’. We are not born understanding how to communicate effectively – these skills are developed as we grow. Not only do the actual stories we read with our children assist in raising awareness of how to communicate well with others, but the conversations we have with them about the stories also help.
Everyone wants their kid to achieve to the best of their ability right? Isn’t that why we spend so much time choosing the right school for them? Numerous studies have shown that being exposed to reading before school age leads to a greater aptitude for learning in general.
Interestingly, research has also repeatedly shown that the most accurate predictor of a pupil’s achievement is not household income or social status but the extent to which parents create an environment at home that encourages learning.
Reading helps children grasp abstract concepts, apply logic, recognise cause and effect, and utilise good judgment. As children begin to relate the scenarios in books to what’s happening in their world, they are likely to become more interested in stories in general. As a result, if they are approaching a potentially stressful experience, why not share a relevant story to help prepare them? It may help to show children that their anxiety is normal and help to make them feel less anxious.
By listening to stories, children learn how to predict events, to recall events in a certain order and to make sense of real life situations. In other words, you are helping to provide them with skills that can only benefit them throughout their education and beyond.
Reading is fun!
Early reading can help children view books as a treat rather than a chore. As Liz Daffern told Dormeo ‘We read to the kids every night and they feel very hard done by if they don’t get their stories!’
Children with a wide exposure to reading materials are far more likely to choose books over video games or television as they grow older. As Stacey Sheppard told Dormeo ‘All the other kids would be out on their bikes but I just couldn’t put my book down. It was the same for my brother and now we’ve both gone on to become writers’.
Now for the soppy bit… Those parents that do read regularly to their children talk of the bonding experience this provides. They talk of story time as a special, quiet time during which shared memories are created.
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