“Once upon a time …” – these four magical words are enough to hit any modern-day parent with fervid nostalgia.
Some nights we were knights fighting fierce dragons, some nights we were pirates cruising through the angry sea, or in some nights we were liberating the common people from a cursed witch!
Everything started with those four words.
But not anymore!
Now, kids are glued to the six-inch screen of the smartphones, playing a game, or watching a video on YouTube.
No, I am NOT against the uprise of the technology.
It’s a bliss (if used correctly).
But that doesn’t mean we should say goodbye to the art of storytelling or reading to the kids in general.
It’s one of the best ways to develop imagination, vision, and intellect.
Plus, young children have highly active cognitive functionality.
They can explore a broad spectrum of feeling and learn things at a ravishing speed.
So, it’s absolutely imperative for the parents to read to their child.
Here’s how you can encourage them to do so –
1. Improving Listening Skills
The mastery in any language stands on four pillars – speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.
Among these four, we adopt the listening skills before the others.
It happens naturally, almost without any conscious effort.
Maybe, that’s why we tend to put less importance to master the listening skills!
But that shouldn’t be the case as it opens the door to many other relevant skills like effective communication and proper interpretation.
Reading to the children directly impacts their listening skills.
So, why should the parents miss the opportunity to sharpen this skill for their children?
2. Profound Knowledge of Language
The reading skill is one of the most valuable skills to have better academic performance.
A study by the University of Michigan imposes great value on five relevant skills that are essential to develop the reading skills.
These are –
- Phonemic Awareness – The ability to identify “meaningful” sounds in a language
- Phonics – The bridge between written symbols and sounds in a language
- Vocabulary – The collection of all the words a person knows of a language
- Reading Comprehension – The ability to successfully understand the context of a written text
- Fluency – The ability to understand a language quickly
So, these are the skills that make a person better reader.
But how can one master these skills?
Yes, that’s right – by listening to the language.
This means parents can help their kids to become the master of a language by simply reading to them.
3. Enhancing Intellectual Skills
When we listen to anything, we use our imagination to create a mental picture that illustrates the topic.
This is only possible by reading or listening.
For example, while watching the Lord of the Rings movies, we are not imagining but only exploring the plot from the filmmaker’s perspective.
However, when we read the book, we create the world and the characters in it with our imagination.
The more we practice this behavior, the better our imaginative power becomes.
This is even truer for the children.
On top of that, they get better at sequencing, analyzing, and predicting outcomes.
4. “Our Precious Little Times Together”
Parents are often trying to find new ways to connect with their children.
Just like playing board games or having a picnic in the park, reading to the children is equally enjoyable for both the parents and child.
Parents can bolster the spiritual bonds and intimacy quite easily this way.
Think about it – it’s raining cats and dogs outside, you and your child are wrapped up inside a blanket, and you are reading Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland to your child.
Doesn’t that sound precious?
5. Fostering the Ability to Comprehend Deeper Meanings
Stories or novels often cover the deeper meaning under the surface narrative.
This is called allegory – one of the most potent literary devices of a writer.
But only the sharpest minds can understand and discover the allegories.
Allegory isn’t the only literary device, there are more –
A responsible and smart parent will help their kids to understand these devices from an early age by merely reading and explaining the true meaning of a story.
Reading and explaining Aesop’s Fables is a prime example of such activity.
Of course, a person will have to read a lot of books themselves to master the literary devices.
But reading to them from an early age is the first step towards that goal.
6. Feeding the Hunger for Knowledge
Children are ever-curious.
They are always questioning about everything. Sometimes might even cause a headache (!) with that question – “What’s this? What’s that?”
It’s only natural, and parents should always encourage such behavior.
Reading to them is a great way to feed their monstrous hunger for knowledge.
The reading materials shouldn’t be confined to only fictional books.
But a parent should introduce different non-fiction too.
No, I am not talking about reading them boring books or newspaper.
It can be books about animals, science, scientists, geography, history – anything.
The goal is to educate them in an entertaining way.
7. Better Educational Performance
Reading to the children has a strong connection to educational performance in later life.
While kids listen to their parents reading to them, they learn about new topics, build up more substantial vocabulary, and understand the language better.
Stats say that kids who are read to three times a week have double the chance to score in the top 25%.
Plus, children grow a fondness for reading too that later on paves the way for many other skills.
8. Stronger Conversational Skills
It’s not easy for everyone to start or continue the conversation.
The main reason behind it is that people don’t feel very confident about speaking.
While kids listen to others reading to them, they pick up some essential conversational skills –
- Being a better listener
All of these will help the kids to become a better human being.
Because these are some of the uncommon yet highly valuable humane skills.
9. Encouraging Them to Read Themselves
Sadly, reading is slowly becoming a lost art these days.
But reading is one of the more evident indications of intelligence and smartness.
Let’s not get carried away, we all know reading is important!
But encouraging a child to read is NOT a task.
This is where the role of parents come to play as they are the biggest inspiration of their child.
A teacher, a sibling, or a friend can’t influence a child like a parent.
When the parents read them, they feel inspired, and even feel the urge to read the books themselves.
10. Increasing Attention Span
As I said, kids have a very hyperactive brain in general.
They are always up to something – acting somewhat fretful and restless from time to time.
Notably, children with ADHD suffer from this issue even more.
Again, reading to them can come to rescue!
Reading to them will not only make them calm and listen to the parents but also increase their attention span.
Have you ever noticed how children act while listening to someone telling them stories?
They seem mesmerized, struck with aw!
This is because we send them pleasure messages by reading them stories.
Forget everything else, a parent should read to their child just to give them this pure form of happiness.
What do you think?
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Please note that these techniques are not intended to replace professional care and are for entertainment purposes only.