All parents can agree that their child’s reading ability is a critically important milestone in their development. Most great schools, such as this Shanghai international school, will promote a genuine love for reading in their students as the importance of reading goes beyond reading storybooks, the lunch menu, or classroom assignments. Reading is a skill that helps to propel children’s overall learning development – read on to find out how.
#1 Children who learn to read earlier are more likely to succeed academically
This is not a one-size-fits-all philosophy. Some children will learn to read earlier or later than others, just as some learn to walk, talk, sprint, or ride a unicycle earlier or later! Each child has their own pace.
However, there is no harm in introducing your child to the art of the word as early as possible. As babies, this starts with reading stories aloud as they listen or look at the pictures. To toddlers, you may begin to introduce letter sounds. When children are a bit older, they can begin to start learning to read properly. If you have a young child learning to read, a great resource is Teach Your Monster to Read. It’s a FREE online game that kids have fun playing while learning to read.
In many schools around the world, children are expected to read by 6 years old. Sometimes a child may struggle to keep up with classmates when reading textbooks or stories in class, which can stifle their learning. However, most good schools (especially at the Western International School of Shanghai) will help children reach the expected reading level with extra support and guidance
Reading with your child is a fantastic opportunity to connect with your child. Research has shown that children feel very safe, content, and loved when reading with an adult. Reading can help both children and adults feel connected to one another.
With children learning to read, you may read most of the story and have them follow along with their finger but occasionally point to an easy word and see if they can sound it out. The confidence boost children get from helping to read a story has immeasurable benefits.
Did you know that a child between the ages of 6 and 8 typically learns 12 words a day? Reading can help expose children to so much vocabulary. Plus, children learn to better understand sentence structure and grammar when they see it in print rather than hearing it spoken.
Just as all children develop at their own pace, each child has their own confidence level (just as all adults do!) But, feeling accomplished in something they’ve tried hard in is a big confidence boost to any child. Seeing a child’s happiness after realizing they can read a whole book without any help is one of the most beautiful things in the world!
#5 Opening their minds
This one goes for any age. Reading exposes children to an entirely new world than what they’re used to. They’re whisked away to new places where they meet new characters and learn new things about the world. This can help children to approach things in their lives with better understanding and empathy.
The best thing about reading? The amount of joy that can come from it. Reading should never be made to feel like a chore to children. Reading to your child early on introduces them to the art of the word as a joyous part of their life. If they have memories of being read a soothing story at bedtime or reading a funny book together in the day, they come to understand that reading is something to be enjoyed and celebrated.
How can I get my kid reading?
One of the best ways to get your child into reading is by reading yourself. Have you ever noticed that kids like to copy what they see their favorite adults doing? Reading is no exception. Start reading your own book – if they come over and ask what you’re doing, you can tell them how much fun you’re having reading. Suggest you start reading one of their books together.
Reading aloud to your child regularly is critical – try to read to them at least 15 minutes every day (perhaps at bedtime). No matter what, the most important part of reading is fun! Check out more ideas to make reading fun here.