Reading books out loud with your child is great for their learning and wellbeing, no matter what their age or reading level. Here are some benefits to reading aloud with your child – even after they can read for themselves!
Learning by listening
As your child begins to read, they learn much more about what words mean by hearing books read out loud and discussing new words with you than from reading on their own. Reading aloud together can help build vocabulary, improve reading skills, and increase attention and listening skills.
Even after they can read for themselves, reading out loud to your child can show them what proficient reading sounds like, with pacing, intonation and expression. It also helps them experience the pleasure of sharing stories and develop a lifelong love of books.
Books are great teachers
Reading books together can teach your child about different emotions and situations and lead to great discussions. Talk to your child about the stories you read together – what do they think and feel about the characters and what happened in the story? This can help your child express their thoughts, feelings and imagination.
Books don’t just have to be ‘fiction’ to be a great read – books with facts and true stories can be fantastic too. Reading your child history books, science books or biographies out loud can be just as entertaining, and give your child insight into different people, things, places and historical events.
Time to connect
Sharing a good book is a great way to spend one-on-one time with your child – you are giving them your undivided attention, being close and sharing experiences and ideas with them. As your child gets older and your schedules get busier, reading together can be a way for you to connect on a regular basis.
Reading your child a bedtime story is a great way to get them relaxed and ready for sleep – but if night-time reading doesn’t work for your family, there are plenty of other times to read together. For example, you could have a regular snuggle on the couch with a book on the weekends, read out news stories over breakfast, read out recipes or the TV guide – or listen to audio books together in the car or on public transport.
Extend and challenge
As your child becomes a more confident reader, you can read books that your child could read alone (so they can re-read them independently later) as well as books that are above your child’s reading level. Listening to you read more challenging books exposes your child to more complicated stories and advanced vocabulary.
When deciding what to read to your child, let them choose – or look for books on topics your child is interested in, ones written by their favourite author, or your favourite stories from childhood.