Tracy Walter

I have been asked by parents and new teachers I work with “When is the best time to read to children.” My answer is always, “Always and anytime!” There is always a time to read when it comes to children because there are many benefits of reading to and with children, and it is never too early to begin.

Even before children are born, they can hear. Hearing language early is important because research has shown that babies’ brains prepare to speak months before they say their first word. Therefore, hearing language is vital to language development.

Books provide a wonderful opportunity for conversation and interaction with children; this refers to back-and-forth interaction with older children. Keep in mind as you are reading and talking with children, although quantity of words spoken to children are important, the quality of the words is important as well. When we talk about the quality of words, we are referring to the diversity of words to help expand children’s vocabulary.

Choosing a variety of books will help with the quality of words used in reading to children. I always encourage adults to choose non-fiction along with fiction books. This will allow children to hear words they may not necessarily hear, which in turn will expand their language development.

Take every opportunity to read to children. It can be simple things such as when you are driving. Do not forget about the environmental print they see daily on the roads as you are driving or walking to school or at the store. As adults, we do not pay attention to all the print we see. We take it for granted. I encourage you to pay attention and every opportunity you see to read to children, read!!

If you read as much as you can to them throughout the day, it will improve their language development, their vocabulary and help them understand the importance of reading. Do not think that reading to children just means reading books. Story time is important to do daily and multiple times a day, however, as we are going through our busy day, I challenge you to find other opportunities as well. Take the time to read to children; there is always time to read.

ECLKC – Read It Again! Benefits of Reading to Young Children

Tags : booksConversationdevelopmentInteractionlanguagereadreadingvocabulary

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