3 Reasons Why You Should Read With Your Kids

I still remember fondly the days when my dad read the Harry Potter series to me and my siblings. His silly voices made the fantastic world seem all the more magical! As I grew older, my mom would sometimes read her book club books aloud to me, and we’d discuss the stories and ideas. Those times reading with my parents are probably some of my favorite childhood memories.

Perhaps you also have fond memories of being read to. Or maybe you now enjoy being on the other end, reading aloud to your own children!

Reading books with your kids can be fun, but it’s much more than just a good idea. In fact, “reading aloud to . . . children is crucial” (1). But what is it that makes reading with your children so very important? In honor of National Family Literacy Month this November, here are just a few of the research-based reasons why you should read with your kids.

1. Improves language skills and education

Reading aloud to your kids, especially during their baby and toddler years, can give them a jumpstart on their language skills. In fact, research shows that it helps kids develop vocabulary and gain “specific early literacy skills” to prepare them for school (2). Reading with your kids from an early age also helps kids be more successful readers later on in life.

This early language development also makes a difference for your children’s education. Research shows that by third grade, kids who are behind in reading are four times more likely to drop out of high school! (3) As you read with your kids early on, you’ll give them a better chance of educational success.

2. Strengthens relationships

Not only does reading with your children help them build language skills, but it can also build your relationship! According to the research, reading with your kids builds “nurturing relationships that are critical for the child’s . . . development” (4).

As you read together when your kids are young and continue to do so even when they’re older, this can be a special time for you to connect. Liza Baker of Scholastic explains how this can help strengthen the parent-child bond: “As they become independent readers, we tend to let them go, but even kids in older demographics love nothing more than that time with their parents. . . . kids time and again said the most special time they recall spending with a parent is reading together” (5).

3. Provides a good alternative to screen time

In this day and age, it’s easy to throw on Netflix or hand your kid a tablet while you try to get things done. But spending too much time with technology can be bad for your children’s development, as well as for your relationship with them. For more information on the dangers of too much screen time, check out the ACPeds statement about the impact of screen time here (6).

Because of this, it is recommended that parents avoid providing screen time for kids under 2 and that access to screen time is limited for older children (7). Thankfully, reading with your kids can provide “a positive alternative for entertaining young children” (8). This can also help you and your kids take time away from technology and spend quality time together (see #2).

Read Today!

Reading with your kids is not just an opportunity to create fun memories, but it’s a chance to really make a difference. You can help your children improve their reading, build a stronger relationship with them, and find a positive substitute for too much technology.

So read with your kids today! It may help them more than you know, both now and in the future.

For more information:

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Picture retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/baby-kid-child-boy-reading-book-2598005/

References

1-2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2014, August). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics, 134(2), 404-409.

3. Hernandez, D. J. (2012). Double jeopardy: How third grade reading skills and poverty influence high school graduation. Retrieved from The Annie E. Casey Foundation website: http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/AECF-DoubleJeopardy-2012-Full.pdf

4. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2014, August). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics, 134(2), 404-409.

5. Joyce, A. (n.d.). Why it’s important to read with your kids and how to make it count. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/02/16/why-its-important-to-read-aloud-with-your-kids-and-how-to-make-it-count/?utm_term=.791fbb95a22d

6. American College of Pediatricians. (2016, November). The impact of media use and screen time on children, adolescents, and families. Retrieved from https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/parenting-issues/the-impact-of-media-use-and-screen-time-on-children-adolescents-and-families

7. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016, October 21). American Academy of Pediatrics announces new recommendations for children’s media us. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-recommendations-for-childrens-media-use.aspx

8. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2014, August). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics, 134(2), 404-409.

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