How Important Is Reading To Your Child for School Readiness?
As a busy parent it can be hard to build reading to your child daily into your routine, but research shows it has numerous important benefits to childhood development.
Not only can reading be a great way to bond with your child and help settle them as a part of your daily bedtime routine, you are also helping fuel their imagination. Furthermore books are great tools for teaching children about emotions, cause and effect and other important life lessons. Of course, reading to your child also has a huge impact on expanding their vocabulary and getting them ready for school.
In fact, a recent study from Ohio University has found that there is a huge vocabulary gap between children who are read to daily and those who aren’t. That gap is so enormous it has been dubbed the “one million word gap”. This is due to estimations that a child whose parents read them five books a day would enter kindergarten having heard approximately 1.4 million more words than a child whose parents didn’t read to them at all.
The study focuses on the reading word gap rather than the conversational word gap, due to the important differences between the two. Words heard from books are likely to be more complex than words spoken daily in the home. Being exposed to this more complex language helps develop pre-reading skills.
‘Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school [and are] likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily,’ says Jessica Logan, lead author of the study.
Additional benefits from reading extensively to your child come from the discussions you may have around the storylines and characters, which in turn help build your child’s comprehension skills, as well as their general knowledge.
If you are struggling to find time to read to your child, don’t panic. Why not consider audio books as a way of helping expose your child to more words and helping develop their love of reading?
And, while building your child’s vocabulary helps prepare your child for kindergarten and school, there are a lot of other factors to consider. Our Parent TV experts have lots of great information that can help you. Stephanie Wicker gives some great advice for preparing your child for toddlers childcare or preschool and Maggie Dent shares some food for thought about starting your child at school.