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4 Reasons You Must Read Aloud to Your Kid

Posted 8/16/2016 by UHBlog

Reading helps children develop their language and interpersonal skills. Ask us how to get into a regular reading habit with your child.

Reasons You Must Read Aloud to Your Kid

From the moment your child enters the world, you begin to worry about his future: Will he do well in school? Will she interact easily with others? Experts say reading aloud to your child is one of the best ways you, as a parent, can help prepare him for success. By reading to – and with – your child, you’ll help her develop both language and interpersonal skills.

“Studies show that when parents read to their babies and toddlers, they have better literacy rates,” says pediatrician Laura Caserta, MD.

And reading with your child doesn't need to stop once they enter school.

“Reading together helps build bonding and a lifelong love of learning,” Dr. Caserta says. With more than 110,000 libraries around the country, it's easy – and free – to access books and reading materials.

Dr. Caserta offers these four reasons why it’s important to keep reading aloud to your child, no matter how old they are:

  1. To promote language and vocabulary development. In the early years, children acquire most of their vocabulary and language skills by listening to others speak. Reading out loud to children helps increase their visual and word-recognition skills.
    “There was a 2015 study that actually showed that the activity in areas of the brain that are critical for oral language and reading were more active in the brains of toddlers whose parents read to them regularly than those who didn’t have parents who read to them every day,” she says.
  2. To start conversations. It can be hard to bring up sensitive topics with your kids. They sometimes get embarrassed or become uncommunicative. Reading together can help make these conversations less uncomfortable by de-personalizing the discussion.
    “There are books on every sort of topic, from toilet training to bullying,” says Dr. Caserta. “Reading together is a helpful way to work through these topics.”
  3. To help build creativity and improve their imagination. Unlike television watching, listening to stories requires active participation.
    “You have to imagine what’s going on,” Dr. Caserta says.
    This helps build the creative muscle. Studies show that children with creative vision tend to excel at out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving, which is helpful in both school and life.
  4. To develop a great bedtime ritual. Bedtime routines provide a comforting ending to the day. Reading together before bedtime ensures that you and your child have a few moments of intimate connectivity before the lights go out.
    “Even kids who are older – like 9 or 10 – enjoy that time with mom and dad,” she says. “They look forward to it.”
    And as your kids get older, you can switch positions, and have your children read aloud to you, strengthening both their confidence and oratory skills.

Laura Caserta, MD is a pediatrician at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. You can request an appointment with Dr. Caserta or any other doctor online.

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