The experts all agree - reading to your children is one of the most important things you can do to foster their love of learning. Children whose parents read to them are more successful in school. They often learn to read earlier and understand what they read more clearly. Reading to your children benefits them in many ways - some of them obvious and some of them not quite so obvious. Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook, offers many ways that reading aloud to your children helps them academically.
-When you read to your child, you condition your child to associate reading with the pleasure of your company and love. That association will help foster an enjoyment and love of reading, and that association is necessary to turn your kids into lifelong readers.
-You provide your child with a reading role model when you read to them and let them see you reading. Children naturally want to emulate their parents. Reading to them gives them a positive activity to copy.
-Reading to your child contributes to their general knowledge of the world, knowledge that will help them when they start studying history, geography, science, social studies and mathematics, among other things.
-One of the more obvious benefits of reading aloud to your child is that you increase their vocabulary naturally, and teach them proper grammar by osmosis. They listen and absorb the meanings of words, sentence structure and other aspects of communication that will make it easier for them to read and understand their lessons when they start school.
-Reading creates empathy toward other people, which is a valuable trait in learners. The best learners are those who can recognize themselves in others, no matter how different. They generalize knowledge more widely and often can make those intuitive leaps that are vital to learning new things.
-Children who are read to learn to read earlier than those who are not. Research shows that they are more likely to stay in school and graduate from high school and pursue secondary education.
-A surprising correlation is an extension of the one above. Because children who are read to are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to higher education, they are more likely to get higher paying jobs, and live longer.
-Reading improves the attention span, making it easier for children to learn.
-It improves the skills that are fundamental to all kinds of learning - sequencing of events, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
-Reading to children stimulates their imagination, and imagination may be the most powerful force in the universe. Everything - every invention, every creation, every achievement - begins with imagination. When you read to a child, you encourage him to exercise his imagination.
-When you share reading with a child, you give them an entertainment alternative to television. Reading is not a passive entertainment - it engages the mind and encourages children to learn more.
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