Most parents know that reading to young children is highly beneficial, and the benefits of reading to young children have been widely studied and analyzed. These benefits are listed and explained on many blogs, but most likely in a random way. In some cases, more than 10 benefits are listed, but a lot of them are practically the same or closely related.
In this article, the benefits are analyzed in 6 categories: brain development, communication, concentration, empathy, imagination and knowledge for better understanding.
1. Brain development
There are many studies which show that reading to a young child enhances his/her brain networks.
According to Dr. John S. Hutton (the lead author and a clinical research fellow), children who had been exposed to home reading showed significantly greater activation of a brain area that is “all about multisensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation”. Also, Psychological Science in January 2013 indicated that reading to a child raises his or her IQ by over 6 points.
Above studies clearly indicate that reading to young children helps their brain development.
Reading to a young child is also beneficial for his/her effective communication with others.
Through reading, children’s language skill can be developed by exposing them to rich vocabulary on many topics. Rich vocabulary through reading is a great tool for effective communication.
As a bonus, a strong bond can be created and enhanced through intimate communication between parents and children while reading to them.
If a child does not like a book, it is not recommended to push him/her to listen to the book. Reading / listening to boring books may not improve concentration. Instead, it may cause a drawback of disliking books in general.
So, it is necessary to find books in which a child shows some interest. By reading interesting books repeatedly, children learn to sit still and concentrate for a while. Through these activities, concentration technique can be developed.
Reading is a great indirect emotional experience. Children develop empathy by putting themselves into the story. They will think how each character in the story is acting, feeling and thinking. After reading, conversation with parents on the analysis of each character is a great technique to enhance children’s empathy.
While listening to a story, children imagine what the characters are doing and what events are occurring. Vivid imagination & prediction of what will happen next will be an amazing virtual experience. Especially, fantasy books provide material for his/her expansive imagination.
Increasing knowledge is the most obvious and fundamental benefit of reading / listening to books. Books teach children about the world around them, and the world around them can be expanded through books. Books also encourage a thirst for knowledge for children. The benefit of increasing knowledge can never be over-emphasized.
The benefits of reading books for children are categorized and explained. I hope these explanations are clear to understand and helpful to parents. Through reading / listening to books from an early age, I hope our children grow up happy and make our world a better place in the future.