• Wendy Richardson

Why Is Reading To My Child So Valuable?

There are many good reasons to enjoy books with your child.

Firstly, it is potentially an enjoyable and relaxed occasion for you both, which combines valuable learning with emotional bonding.

Almost everything we do involves reading and writing. And it’s not just reading books or magazines!

Shopping lists, instruction manuals, labels on products, bills, reminder messages, maps and signs, online information .... there are words everywhere, and your child will need to be literate to access all of this as they grow up.

Being exposed to written material helps children to understand that these ‘squiggles’ are useful and interesting, which encourages them to start noticing letters and words. For this reason, at times, you should show children the words and tell them this is what you are reading.

A big part of literacy success is tied to a child’s ability to use a narrative, or storyteller, style. By hearing stories, both read and told, a preschool child develops a sense of how to explain events; for example, to start by ‘setting the scene’. This involves telling who, what, when and where.

Further on in the story, they can hear how information is linked into a sequence with words like ‘after that’, ‘later’ and ’while’. Then they can hear how the story is brought to a conclusion. This format is useful both when talking and writing, whether it’s ‘show and tell’ at Kindy, or an essay at university!

Seeing the sequence of the story on pages is also very helpful for a child in beginning to understand time, and sequences of events. Even simple things, like taking a bath, or going shopping have sequences, and can be intensely interesting to a toddler.

Handling a book, being able to turn pages back to earlier events in the story, and predicting the outcome, is all part of understanding a narrative style, and how we typically give information.

Other advantages of having books, is the possibility to extend children’s vocabulary and grammar. Repetition of favourite stories is particularly handy this way, especially if you take the time to discuss the illustrations, some similar events in their lives, or what might have caused something to happen.

All of these benefits, and more, will depend on three things; what a child is interested in, the book or story you choose, and how to read and explore it. See the next few blogs on ‘Choosing Books and Stories’

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