How Important Is Reading For A Child's Development?
Reading is a really important tool in a child’s overall development. It is often their first introduction to language and it can broaden their horizons socially too.
Reading also plays a really important role in developing your child’s imagination. How amazing that by reading a succession of words our child can conjure up amazing colourful scenes in their own minds.
Reading is also an important skill with respect to progressing through schooling. It is a vital component in academics and therefore affects the way our children perform at school, university and in their careers. This can have a large impact on how they feel about their future ambitions and goals which is connected to their self-confidence and mental health.
Being able to read affects the way we navigate daily life also. Road signs, leaflets and instructions are all steeped in the written word. Understanding what these words or symbols mean is vital in terms of simply getting through the day. For this reason reading, and learning how to do it effectively, affects the way we see and experience the world around us.
Relationships are deeply impacted by the art of reading. Reading a story together is a powerful shared experience. It entails physical closeness and attention that can strengthen the bond of attachment and really add substance to a relationship. Many children consider their bed-time story to be one of the best parts of the day. I
t involves all of their favourite things – a cuddle from a parent, their undivided attention and being transported to a magical story before the day comes to an end. It is a really powerful experience and encouraging our children to see the positives in it is very important as it will impact the way they approach reading when they eventually start school and it is a necessity.
Our children benefit so much from reading in terms of developing a variety of skills because reading is an activity that brings together so many different senses. It requires the attention of our children’s eyes, ears and a sense of deep concentration.
For this reason, it plays a vital role in helping our children to develop and nurture these skills in a meaningful way. Reading with your child may be the very reason that you notice an issue with one of their senses. It could prompt you to source a hearing test or eye-test for example. If your child has a weakness in one of these areas it is important to address it at the earliest possible stage so that they can access the help and support they need.
Introducing books and reading to your child from a young age is highly recommended. Even if your baby is too young to fully understand it will normalise the experience of reading and become part of your family routine. As your baby gets older you will start to notice them responding to the images and sounds you are making as you tell the story.
Toddlers love to ask questions about the topics and characters in a book and as time goes on you will notice that a book that once took a couple of minutes is now taking a lot longer to get through.
This is a really good sign though as it shows the level of enthusiasm and imagination that the reading time has instilled in your child. Eventually, your child will begin to explore books in a more independent way which prepares them for school.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.