While your tot will love being read to, older children can also benefit from snuggling up to you with a book.
While we all know reading to your child is beneficial to their development, did you know that even after kids can read on their own, they benefit from being read to?
Here are a few great things that come out of reading out aloud to your older child:
Improves listening skills
Every parent knows that it’s good to read to kids when they’re little. It helps babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers develop spoken language, recognise letters and words, and get ready for school. But it’s actually beneficial to read to kids even after they can read on their own. Research shows that continued reading aloud after age five (and well beyond) improves reading and listening skills and academic performance (and is also loads of fun!).
Improves behavioural skills
According to Scholastic’s 2016 Kids & Family Reading Report – a national survey of children aged six to 17 and their parents that explores attitudes and behaviours around books and reading – 59% of parents read to kids from birth to age five, but only 38% read to their five-to-eight-year-olds, and a scant 17% keep reading to kids age nine to 11. Yet most kids aged six to 11 (and most parents) report that they enjoy read-aloud time. Everyone loves a good story, whether it’s in the form of a paper book, an e-book, an audiobook, or even a podcast.
Kids who are read to encounter more words – and learn how to recognise and pronounce them – than they would by just being spoken to. And studies show that having a large vocabulary can help kids perform better in school.
When kids are engaged and invested in the story, they understand it more thoroughly. You can check in as you go to see whether your child understands what’s going on and ask what they think will happen next, what they think of the characters, and so on.
Positive experiences and warm memories of hearing stories from a loved one can inspire a lifelong love of reading. Award-winning novelist T.C. Boyle told a crowd at the 2017 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books that he learned to read not in school but from his mom reading to him – and that when he reads now, he still hears her voice in his head.
Children may tune out if you lecture them about what to do and what not to do. But if you read a story that shows characters grappling with serious conflicts and the consequences of their actions – or facing bullying, racism, religious or ethnic bias, or gender discrimination – it’s a way into talking about complex, topical matters.