Why reading is important
Sure, reading is a fun activity to do with your child, but it’s more than fun. Reading is important for building vocabulary and grammar from an early age. Toddlers and preschoolers have minds like sponges, developing quickly and soaking up everything they hear. The books you read to them will shape their development for years to come. Here’s why reading is so important.
1. Children need to hear a variety of words often.
By the time school starts, the average child has a vocabulary of 5000 words . This means that by the time a child turns five, he or she is learning 3.5 words per day. To learn at this rate, your child needs a lot of exposure to language…and not just the same words you say around the house every day. Introducing your child to new vocabulary is key to speech development. That’s where books come in! .
Books that expose your child to new vocabulary are best when they not only use unfamiliar words, but also repeat the same words in different types of sentences throughout the book. A word appearing in different contexts helps kiddos develop a deeper understanding of a word. Repetition is key!.
2. Reading gives you an opportunity to explain what words mean.
Learning new words doesn’t help much when a child doesn’t understand what they mean. Books often provide enough context for children to get the gist of what each word means, but you’ll have to fill the gaps by explaining.
Reading time gives you the perfect opportunity to explain words to kids while they’re sitting down and you have their attention and interest. When you’re reading with your child, it’s important to explain what a word means, point to pictures, and use your voice and gestures to help explain the meaning of a word. For instance, the word “laugh,” can be easier for your child to understand if you laugh and then do something to make her laugh.
3. Books teach vocabulary and grammar together, and that’s best!
Vocabulary and grammar area learned together. Words are of limited use to a child who isn’t able to put a sentence together. This is why it’s important to expose your child to new vocabulary in grammatically correct sentences. Books have plenty of those!
Read these sentences aloud to your child. Even if he may only like to point to pictures and say words, which is fine…make sure that at least some of your reading time involves you actually reading full sentences. Also leave time for him to read the way he wants to read (be it pointing to pictures, saying words, etc.), so you don’t lose his interest.
This is all great information, but there are so many books out there! What books should you read with your little one?
Types of books to read with your littles: