How reading to children improves their communication skills

Teacher reading aloud to her students

Reading is more than just decoding printed words; it also involves listening and comprehending. Children will benefit from hearing new sounds, words and phrases, even if they don’t grasp every word. They begin to learn how to speak and understand a wider variety of languages when they hear stories read aloud.  

Books are a fantastic way to talk to your child, tell them stories and get to know them better. Parents, teachers and all adults around children are encouraged to read to them because of the many benefits reading has on their development.  

A child’s early literacy and language development are influenced by the quantity and quality of the words you use with them. Reading to your child from an early age can help set the stage for future success; academically, professionally and personally. Let’s discuss further why reading to children is so important and how it can improve communication skills. 

Why reading is important 

Reading together is a terrific way to connect with your child and build your relationship with them. You should spend time with them, helping them become familiar with speech sounds, words, and language. The act of reading aloud to a child has been scientifically proven to stimulate thousands of brain cells in their developing brain. It creates brand-new neural connections within their already complicated brain network. 

Storytelling and reading aloud help children become literate. It helps kids develop language, communication, social and literacy skills. It also aids the growth of a child’s cognitive abilities, attention span, focus, concentration and social skills. 

Little girl contemplating on a book she’s reading

Reading gives the opportunity to pique a child’s interest and watch as their imaginations soar. It encourages your child to discover themselves, their country, and the world. It also helps young children distinguish between reality and pretend play and guides them through complex feelings like those brought on by novelty and fear. 

Reading to children has far-reaching academic benefits too. If you read to a young child, even if they don’t understand everything you say, they will develop the abilities they’ll need when they start reading on their own. It teaches kids that reading is something you do by looking at words from left to right and that turning the page is crucial to reading further.  

A child’s ability to focus can also be helped by reading regularly and consistently. Children will also benefit from learning how to focus for extended periods, which will benefit them in the classroom. 

How does reading improve communication?  

Reading to infants and toddlers helps them develop the part of their brain that facilitates language development and stimulates language processing. It boosts your child’s cognitive development, improving knowledge, reasoning, information processing, language development and memory. It also increases a child’s vocabulary, allowing them to express themselves and communicate effectively. Their confidence will grow through reading as they gain knowledge and share ideas.  

Reading is also a wonderful way to introduce kids to words and phrases they would not have encountered otherwise. A child’s vocabulary will grow exponentially if they are read to daily. It also exposes children to fresh thoughts and new perspectives, providing them with a foundation for understanding the world and their place in it. This allows them to build their personality, refine their voice and express themselves. 

Being exposed to different books with various topics helps kids communicate with people from diverse backgrounds and interests. A child will be able to strike up a conversation with a stranger, even if the subject matter is entirely foreign to them both. 

A child will pick up on vocabulary and language they hear around them, and reading exposes the language of books, which is different from the language heard in daily life. Book language, whether in a children’s book or a classic novel, is typically more descriptive and uses more formal grammatical structures. 

As you read to children, their listening abilities also improve. They become better at asking questions and begin learning from the exchanges. Consistently reading to children will eventually lead to excellence in written expression. 

When and how to read to children 

It’s never too early to start reading with your child. If you start reading to your newborn, even for a few minutes a day, you’ll provide them with the soothing sound of your voice and increase their exposure to language. What you do matters tremendously and can significantly impact their communication abilities. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make your reading time fun and effective: 

  • Make reading a daily habit
  • Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day reading to your child
  • Make books accessible, allowing a child to choose
  • Verbalise that you enjoy reading with them
  • Give your full attention
A teacher reading a book with two children

How to read 

  • Let them help by holding the book or turning the pages. 
  • Make it fun by reading with different voices and facial expressions. 
  • Discuss the pictures on the pages. 
  • Show the words to your child. 
  • Ask questions, and let your child ask you questions too. 
  • Read a book over and over. Children learn better through repetition. 
  • When they already can, let them say the words or tell you the story. 
  • Read a variety of books that introduce them to different stories, topics or ideas. 

With consistent practice, children will improve their ability to pay attention for longer stretches of time. As you’re building the habit, if a child loses interest, putting the book away for a while may help refocus your child’s attention. It’s OK to read for just a minute or two. If your kid is bored during reading time, stop. Do not force finishing the book if your child isn’t enjoying it. Be patient because developing their interest in reading will take time. Remember that children are much more likely to want to read if they see adults reading and enjoying it. 

Fostering a lifelong love of reading is such a powerful tool for enhancing intelligence and expanding one’s worldview. Reading aloud to children is a fun and valuable experience that instils a love of reading in them at a young age. The more a child is read to or reads on their own, the greater their potential for success in school and the development of essential character traits. 

Encourage your child’s love of reading by exposing them to a wide variety of books and reading experiences. You don’t have to have a vast library at home! You can visit the library or bookstore frequently to check out books, spend time together, and discuss what you’ve read. 

More importantly, communicate with your child. Do things with them and spend time with them. While you’re at it, describe your actions to give them a vocabulary boost. By the time they see the words written down, they’ll already know what they mean because they’ve already heard them. 

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Zeus Martinez

Marketing Content Specialist

Wordsmith and storyteller at heart. Writing professionally since 2005. Living and breathing in the childcare education sector as a marketing copywriter for Discover by Xplor.

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