Reading aloud. You probably have a lot of fond memories of it yourself. Reading a bedtime story. Reading a story in class. Reading a story on the rug in front of the fireplace. Okay, probably that cup of hot chocolate is what has stuck with you the most. But the thought remains the same: reading aloud is an important part of kids' lives.
Reading aloud is an entertaining activity, both for the kids themselves and the parents. It is also a peaceful activity, especially compared to that one game you thought up yourself and for which you ran 100 rounds through the room and are still out of breath. Since stories pique children's interest, you won't have to do much to get your kids involved in this activity (no, dragging them along is not one of them). Another plus is that you can start reading aloud from the time your baby is 3 to 4 months old. Yes, reading aloud is the perfect solution when you are at a loss as to what to do with your little one. And guess what, reading aloud has many intellectual, social, and emotional advantages. Now it gets interesting. What are those benefits? Read on quickly!
- Expanding vocabulary.
Reading teaches you many new words. This also applies to reading aloud: your child will come into contact with many new and perhaps difficult words. When your child hears these difficult words in a context, it immediately becomes easier to understand their meaning. Maybe you used to be a very studious child and an inquisitive nature is one of the great qualities you passed on to your child (besides great looks, of course), but whatever the case, reading aloud is a playful way for kids to add new words to their vocabulary.
- Improve language awareness and comprehension.
Besides a richer vocabulary, reading aloud will also increase your child's language skills and comprehension. Reading stories to your child will also help them learn new sentence structures and grammar. Three guesses who will later score great in language class at school?
- Increase empathy.
When your child is young and you read to them a lot, many situations in these stories will still be new to them. Think of new personalities and new cultures. Reading aloud is an ideal way for your child to get in touch with new situations in a safe way. This will probably open them up to new things and give them a greater sense of empathy. And that at a very young age! Where do I sign up?
- Create a rich imagination.
Do you read from a book without pictures? Then it's up to your child to visualize the story in his or her head. Your child will imagine the surroundings and the time in which the story takes place, just like the characters. And chances are that your child will add his or her own touch to the story, and who knows, may already be thinking up a sequel to the story. Aha, so that's where the big dream of becoming a writer comes from. It all makes sense now ;)
- Reading aloud stimulates interaction.
You know the situation yourself: the book ended with a huge cliffhanger, and you immediately feel like talking to someone about it. Of course, children's books won't end with a huge cliffhanger, but you get the point: certain events in stories, whether they are heartwarming, funny, or unexpected, make you want to talk about them with others. In this way, stories will also provide reasons for children to interact with others. Too cute, how little ones start the conversation with peers about the story the teacher read in class!
- Encourage self-reading.
When you read to your child, he or she will automatically notice how much fun it is to read. In other words: you can pass on the joy of reading to your child. And yes, that will reinforce all of the above benefits ;) Who would have thought that something as simple as reading would have so many benefits?
- Better listening.
Reading aloud is for you the sign of reading (duh) and your child the sign of listening. Since listening attentively in these situations is a pleasure (because they are transported to the wonderful world of fiction), chances are that your child will apply this to other situations as well. So reading aloud can help your child become a good listener and will regularly say, I'm all ears.
- Reinforce concentration skills.
Hearing is not the same as listening. You can listen to a story, but not understand it because you have not really listened. Listening attentively to a story will not succeed without good concentration. Since your child naturally wants to know how things will end between the kingdom of cats and the kingdom of rabbits, namely whether they will make up with each other or not, your little one will do his or her utmost to concentrate on the story. In this way, the ability to concentrate is practiced, which your child will benefit from at many other times. Whenever you need to lecture your child, for example ;)
- Memory training.
To follow the story and understand why King Rabbit sends his army of rabbits into the kingdom of cats, it is important that the previous events are well stored in your child's memory. In this way, your child will train his or her memory, which he or she will benefit from countless other times in life.
- Be open about feelings.
Stories can trigger feelings of recognition in your child: a child going to school for the first time and finding it exciting, a child saying goodbye to a pet, or a child making new friends. When these situations feature prominently in stories read aloud, your child will understand that others are going through the same thing. This may be an opportunity for your child to talk about his or her feelings, and an ideal opportunity for you to reassure him or her.
- Strengthen bonding.
No surprise here, but reading aloud is obviously not something your child does alone. And since it is an activity you do together, it will strengthen the bond between parent and child. It is an activity that you both throw yourselves into at that moment, and that contributes to the emotional development of your little one. Also when someone else reads to your child, for example, grandma or the babysitter, it will strengthen the bond between that person and your child. And that's a good thing, because your child will feel safe with that person and will trust him or her. Quality bonding time!
- Promotes sleep.
Does your child love to watch an episode of his or her favorite children's program on the iPad before bed, and does he or she often have trouble falling asleep? Then chances are that iPad use and difficulty falling asleep are related. Try changing this ritual by reading a story from a children's book. The essence, the processing of a story, remains the same. The way he or she experiences, watches, or listens to this story is the only thing that changes. And after reading the above benefits, you're totally sold when it comes to reading aloud anyway, right?
- Creating structure.
Do you read your child a story at a set time? This is great, as it will create a structure for your child, which kids need at a young age. A good example is a bedtime story. After a while, your child will know that a story will be read in the evening and that it is then time to go to dreamland. Or maybe your child falls asleep while reading to you. Well, that can happen when you want to hear the same story for the 20th time!