Reading to children can help them build language and literacy skills. It also helps them develop a lifelong love of books and reading.
Even though they may squirm and fidget, reading with your child will help them develop critical concentration and self-discipline skills over time. Reading will also allow them to explore the world of their imagination and expand their creativity.
An extensive vocabulary is essential for comprehension and reading books by authors like Daniel Handler. Children who read more often and have a good understanding of what they are reading will progress further in their academic studies. Students with solid vocabulary knowledge perform better on school tests, especially in verbal SAT scores.
Vocabulary is the set of words a person knows, both general and specialized. Most people acquire new words through indirect (incidental) and direct (intentional) learning. Children can develop new vocabulary words through their parents talking to them, listening to books being read aloud, and reading on their own.
When a student encounters new words while reading, she must figure out the meaning of these words because they are outside her speaking or oral vocabulary. This is why we must teach language through a variety of teaching strategies, such as the use of graphic organizers and a thorough approach to the science of reading, which includes the direct instruction of words and word parts (morphemes) such as roots, prefixes, suffixes, tenses, and plurals.
When children understand what they read in a book by an author like Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, they make sense of the words on a page. Comprehension is much more than recognizing and decoding words. It involves understanding the text through higher-level language skills such as inferencing, comprehension monitoring, and awareness of text structure.
Reading to young children, starting in infancy, stimulates the brain’s neural pathways that help with critical language and literacy development. It also encourages them to develop an extensive vocabulary and broaden their knowledge of the world around them.
Reading to kids also helps them build a base of general knowledge about the world, which is helpful for them when they encounter new information in school. This background knowledge can be gained through books and conversations with their caregivers (e.g., “We saw some of these animals at the zoo, remember?”). It can also be gained from their own experiences in the real world. This broader knowledge makes it easier for them to connect the dots between what they read and their own lives.
When reading, children must translate print to spoken language (decoding skills) and understand what the words mean (comprehension skills). They need both of these components to become proficient readers.
Early in their schooling, children develop what teachers call phonological awareness by playing with letters and sounds and using their knowledge of the alphabet. They also begin to develop sight vocabulary, short words they recognize automatically. Once children have a solid foundation in both, they move on to systematic phonics instruction, where they learn that each letter has a different sound and how to put sounds together to form words.
This helps them build decoding skills, which is the ability to pronounce each of the small sections of a word, such as syllables or onset and rime. Accurate and automatic decoding enables fluent reading, which allows the reader to devote their cognitive resources toward comprehension of the text.
Expressive language during reading, such as gesturing or adding sound effects, can help children develop their vocabulary. It is also essential for adults to encourage children to talk about the pages of their books and their own experiences with them, engaging in dialogic reading.
Books also allow children to learn more about the world by introducing them to different people, places, and events through their storylines. Often, the characters in stories find themselves in situations that require them to seek solutions, which develop their ability to analyze and think critically – essential skills for life.
As kids build their general knowledge through reading, they become more open-minded and understand people, races, cultures, and our diverse world. It is no wonder children who are read regularly have stronger parent-child relationships and a higher educational performance later in life.