Reading to Your Child 20 Minutes a DayAuthor: Kari Hoopes
We've all seen the banners and posters around school areas that say, "Read to your child 20 minutes a day." They have them in English, Spanish, and every other language necessary. Is 20 minutes of reading with or to your child really going to make a difference? Yes, absolutely. Reading to a child has so many involved levels of learning, bonding, and mental stimulation that it is a very necessary component to a child's healthy growth.
Many times I've heard elementary teachers explain how they can spot almost right away the students whose parents read to them regularly. What is it about those students that make them stand out? Well, it's many things that contribute to classroom behavior. The students whose parents read to them regularly have a greater vocabulary, can follow and retell stories well; they usually have a better attention span, and are developing a lifetime love of books. In addition, children who get read to very often are more emotionally secure.
Starting with the obvious, children who get read to often develop their vocabulary much faster. They are constantly learning new words and phrases which they can use in the real world. In turn, this allows them to be able to express themselves better to others and gain greater confidence in themselves and their capabilities. A child who knows how to express what they're thinking is more likely to be confident in his world than a child who has no idea how to express his feelings. Also, by having a greater understanding of words and phrases, we, as parents, can speak to our children with greater efficiency and less frustration because we understand our child and our child understands us.
Children who get read to regularly also have a greater ability to comprehend. When they read a book or a parent reads a book to them, they learn to follow a story line, understand the events, and are able to retell it and answer questions about the story. This is an ability that will improve their lives in school and eventually when they grow up and have a job. They will be able to read a report or any information they are given, process the meaning of it and comprehend what needs to be done with that information.
One attribute that reading regularly can give a child, which I think is mostly overlooked, is the ability to sit still for longer periods of time. Getting a child used to sitting still and listening to a story from a very early age can help them develop a good attention span and help them learn how to control their wiggly bodies, by focusing their thoughts. This helped tremendously with my own son who is a huge wiggle worm. He's constantly moving, and generally does not stay on one project very long. To help him develop a greater ability to control his body and develop a better attention span, we started reading to him several books at a time. These are books that he really likes and is interested in hearing or seeing. The result was that he learned to sit for extended periods of time, and concentrate on one subject for that entire time, with the results spilling into all aspects of his life, including the grocery store and church; two places he particularly had a difficult time staying still. Reading really worked for him and we are grateful.
Also overlooked is the emotional side of reading with a child. When a parent cuddles up and reads a child a story a bonding occurs and an unspoken love is portrayed. The child understands that the parent is taking time to cuddle with them and enjoy a book together and the parent gets to enjoy the cuddling while knowing that the reading activity is contributing to the growth of their child. When a child regularly gets this kind of cuddle time he is so much more secure in his world. He knows he is loved.
There are many more explanations, than this short list, of the value of reading, but the last one we will discuss is the development of a love for books. This will spark a lifelong love of not only a good book, but a love of learning and obtaining knowledge. It will spark imagination, creative writing, and so much more. Reading to your child for 20 minutes a day is a priceless investment with lifelong ramifications that extend far beyond their preparation for school and into the fundamental preparations for life.About the Author:
Kari Hoopes is the owner of the Sweetly You Bath & Body Company. Order a Bath and Body Gift Basket or Body Products with your favorite Fragrance online today.
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