Reading aloud helps your child grow!
Reading aloud? Children get enough stories and images through television and tablets, don’t they? Or do they? Reading aloud is not only a cosy and comforting moment together with your child, it is also very good for language, speech, cognitive and social-emotional development. So start reading aloud as early as possible, even when your child is still a baby.
Good for development
Research shows that children who are read aloud to from an early age perform better at school. They are motivated to learn to read, they are more language proficient and they understand texts better. Moreover, talking about a book together has proven to be a good way to reduce any language deficiency. It is therefore important for (young) children to be read to regularly, not only at the day-care centre and at school, but preferably also at home!
A whole new world
By carefully looking at and naming the pictures in the book with your child, your child learns new words and becomes familiar with books and letters. Reading aloud helps your child automatically pick up new words and stimulates concentration and imagination. Through reading, your child learns to empathise with other people’s worlds and experiences and learns a lot about the world around them. So the more you read aloud the better!
How to choose the right book for your child
Make reading aloud a daily ritual. It helps to choose a fixed time and pick out books that fit your child’s world and interests. For example, if your child’s birthday is coming up, read books about birthdays together. While reading aloud, give your child the opportunity to talk about the story and ask questions. This will help keep your child involved in the story.
You may find it difficult to assess what your child can enjoy and understand. The following guidelines can help make reading aloud more fun for both of you.
Many parents think their baby is too young to be read to. Your baby can’t really follow a story yet, but you can already look at pictures and name what’s there. Choose a book with simple clear drawings. Think of a tactile, bath or board book. And keep the reading aloud short, a few minutes is fine. From 9 months on, you can start reading simple stories.
Young toddlers enjoy hearing a short story to go with the pictures. Simple texts with rhyme and repetition are recommended, they create a certain expectation and help predict what is to come. They also encourage your child to ‘read along’ and complete sentences out loud. It is nice for children to read a book several times. Young children usually love repetition and it also helps them to understand the story better and predict what will happen next.
At three years old, you can start reading longer and more complex stories. Talking about the story together while reading aloud is both fun and instructive. You can already ask some more difficult questions about the story to stimulate reflection: ‘why do you think he does that?’ or ‘what will happen next?’
Reading aloud encourages your child to learn to read on their own too. But when a child starts reading independently, don’t stop reading aloud! After all, some stories are still too difficult for your child. And it remains a valuable and cozy moment to relax and connect after a busy day.
In addition to reading aloud, choose books for your child to read independently. You can ask your child’s teacher which reading level to start at. Read these books together first, for instance, and then encourage your child to read them on their own.
Subscribe to the library for free!
Don’t want to buy new books every time? You can find plenty at the thrift store, and a library card is free for children! Ask your local library for an application form for a youth subscription or boekstart. The library staff are ready and willing to help you apply for a library card, find suitable books, and get a nice Boekstart case with fun, age-appropriate books for your child. You can also register your child online at the Zuid-Kennemerland Library website.
At Hero we encourage a love of books and reading and let children experience the wonder of beautiful stories. We often read aloud to the children, and ensure there are always plenty of books for children to dream away in.
Looking for expert, child-centred care for your baby or child?
Hero has around 85 day-care locations in Haarlem and Spaarndam, each with its own unique atmosphere, so there is always one nearby that will suit you. Take a look at our website for more information and to find a day-care centre near you. Still have a question? Feel free to contact the location of your choice.