For hundreds upon hundreds of years, children’s rooms have been adorned with shelves full of books. Big and small, pictures or chapters, soft cover or hardback, these books have been given with love and sometimes cherished for a lifetime.
Between the pages of these beloved classics, memories are made and new worlds are discovered. The bedtime stories shared with children takes them on journeys to unknown places and gives them new perspectives on their own place in the world. Beyond the imagination, reading aloud to your children develops them further in four ways:
1. Reading aloud is good for the brain.
We’ve all heard it said and ofttimes seen it to be true: “Readers are leaders”. Reading teaches children to ask and answer critical thinking questions. It trains them in comprehension. It introduces them to new concepts, ideas and ways of life.
2. Reading aloud is good for bonding.
Cuddling up with your child just for a few minutes before bed is good for any parent-child bonding. Adding a book and an adventure story to that moment creates a shared experience. With your older child, try a chapter book and read only one chapter each night. This will create anticipation and excitement for the next moments shared tomorrow.
3. Reading aloud develops vocabulary.
Children learn new words all the time: from conversations, TV or advertisement. Learning new words from books, however, is even better. They are given context at an age-appropriate level. Often, books will use similar words over and over again as a teaching tool for younger children. Reading aloud makes learning new words less intimidating by taking the pronunciation out of it.
4. Reading aloud begets a desire for more reading.
Spending time reading aloud with your child models the importance you yourself put on reading. Choosing stories that are fun and exciting for your child only adds to the desire. As your children grow older, encourage them to read for a few minutes on their own before joining them at bedtime. This will give them the confidence they need to succeed.
If you’re not sure where to start with your shelf full of books, we suggest one of these great titles:
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Enjoy a summer of new adventures, dazzling characters and “Just one more chapter, please!”.