Importance of Reading to Children
Why should we read to kids?
Reading aloud to children is one of the most important things a parent can do.
At an early age, children learn by mimicking the actions of others. By reading
aloud to them, you are providing your children with a strong model for how
people read. In fact, a strong relationship exists between how much we read to
children and the speed with which they learn to read in school. This correlation has been shown in
children of all ages (See
Scholastic's Raising a Reader). In addition, reading gives parents the
opportunity to have quiet time alone with their children, a rarity in the age of
television and video games.
What should we read to them?
Anything and everything that you can think of!!! Newspapers, magazines, picture
books, novels, plays, short stories, poems, nursery rhymes, essays … you get
the idea! Many children are able to comprehend at levels above what they are
able to decode, especially younger children. By reading materials that are
slightly above their current decoding level, children are able to expand their
vocabularies while increasing their listening comprehension. It is, however, a
good idea to choose your materials with an eye towards the child’s interests.
Also, keep in mind: the younger a child is, the more likely they are to be
curious about everything!
When should we read to them?
When finding a reading time, it is important to take your own schedule into
consideration. Ask yourself, "When will I be most able to read to my
child?" For some parents, this time may be right before bedtime. For
others, a short story read after dinner may be more appropriate. The most
important thing is that you read to your child on a consistent basis.
What if I am not a very good
Audio books a great option for those who struggle with reading. However, an even
better option is to use this opportunity to improve your reading ability. I have
tremendous respect for adults who admit difficulties with reading and dedicate
their time to moving past these obstacles. Choose materials that you can read and build from
there. As your reading ability improves, so will your child’s. In addition, as
you become a better reader, you will have more choices of what to read to your
little ones. Most importantly, do not give up! Reading is a skill that will not only
benefit you, but is essential to your child’s success in school and in life.
For more information, check out
Scholastic's Parent Newsletters.