Caring for Kids is a new monthly article series brought to you by the early childhood education experts in the Work-Life Resource Center and Children’s Centers.
Reading is one of the most important skills that children can learn. It helps develop important literacy skills, as well as fostering imagination, creativity, and critical thinking. And it’s something that parents and caregivers can encourage from a very young age.
“Storytime is a valuable part of raising a child as well as a great way to bond. When children have reading experiences with someone they enjoy being with and the focus is something that interests them, they engage more deeply and are more likely to seek out reading experiences on their own,” says Christine Snyder, director of U-M Child and Family Care and an experienced early childhood educator. “There are many benefits to reading to children and encouraging independent reading for enjoyment.”
Children who are read to from an early age are more likely to have a larger vocabulary, better comprehension skills, and stronger reading abilities as they get older. Reading also helps children develop their imaginations and creativity. It can also help develop a lifelong love of learning that will serve them well throughout their lives.
5 Tips for Fostering a Love for Reading
- Make it part of your everyday: Establish a regular reading routine that includes reading before bedtime or after waking up in the morning. Visit your local library regularly
- Read aloud to your child: Even if your child is already reading independently, reading aloud to them can help improve their listening comprehension and vocabulary. It can also expose them to more complex and challenging texts than they might be able to read on their own.
- Make it Fun: Encourage reading for fun and enjoyment by providing a variety of books that match their interests and reading level. Set aside regular time for family reading and let your child choose the books they want to read.
- Be a reading role model: As children grow, it is important to continue to encourage their reading habits. One way to do this is to model good reading habits yourself. When children see adults reading for pleasure, they are more likely to develop their own love of reading.
- Provide positive feedback: Encourage your child's reading efforts by providing positive feedback and celebrating their progress. This can help build their confidence and motivation to continue reading.
There may be times when reading a book is not possible, due to literacy abilities, spoken or written language differences, physical limitations, or other factors. Some adaptations for meaningful literacy experiences include oral storytelling, discussing pictures in a storybook, or listening to a recorded story together.
Reading Resources: Articles and Book Lists
Articles about reading to young children:
National Association for the Education of Young Children has a collection of articles about the benefits of reading.
What We Know About Early Literacy and Language Development provides information about the impact of reading on children aged 0-3.
How To Create a Literate Home is an article from PBS Kids with suggestions for actions you can take at home.
Book lists and Recommendations:
Best Books for Preschoolers from Common Sense Media
New York Public Library suggestions of the year’s best books for kids, teens, and adults