A 2019 article in the Ohio State News states that children entering kindergarten having been read to by their parents are exposed to anywhere between 290 000 and 1.4 million more words than children who are not. This is according to a developmental and behavioral pediatric study being conducted. The study can be found here.
The kids’ exposure to more words means they are better prepared for learning in kindergarten. And they will find it easier and faster to pick up learning and reading skills than their peers.
Which is just one of the important reasons why it is vital to establish a love for consistent reading in your child’s life.
What do we mean by a love for consistent reading?
It is crucial that children read every day. Not just a few words here or there, but a dedicated time set aside for reading age-appropriate books.
And it cannot be forced either. It is important for Children to genuinely love and look forward to their reading time.
Why it is Important
Reading plays a crucial role in a child’s development, as most of the learning they receive throughout their young lives is through books. And the more proficient they are at reading, the easier it will be for them to learn.
Here are some of the additional reading benefits that are important for a child’s development:
- Reading improves memory, concentration and provides exercise for the brain
- As a child is reading a story, they are creating mental movies and pictures inside their head to better understand and process the story. Which is an excellent way of enhancing their imagination.
- Reading also broadens a child’s horizon. Rather than being restricted to their city or state, a child can now visit faraway lands, meet new people, and experience different events through the various books they read.
- Consistent reading also boosts a child’s ability to think critically. So rather than merely reading well, a child will have an easier time comprehending what they are reading and be able to analyze it too.
- Reading is one of the best ways of developing a child’s vocabulary and language skills. This includes the number of words they can use and understand, their pronunciation of words, how effectively they can communicate with others, and how well-spoken they are.
- Consistent readers are generally more confident than their peers. Reading well is a huge confidence boost for every child. Whereas poor readers dread reading out aloud, leading to shyness and lower self-confidence.
- Studies show, early readers and children who are exposed to reading before they reach preschool are more likely to excel in all areas of their formal education and have a distinct advantage in their academic pursuits.
These reasons show just how essential reading is for all children. Now let’s look at how reading is especially beneficial for children of single parents.
Why reading is especially important for single-parent children
There are many excellent books with stories of single-parent kids and their experiences. When reading these stories, single-parent children can easily associate with the characters and their relatable stories. This helps them tremendously in dealing with their emotions and overcoming the unique obstacles and challenges they face every day. And it goes a long way in assisting them to communicate these feelings to their parent.
Due to the positive nature of these books, they are also a great way of showing kids that they are always loved, even when it is not expressly mentioned by their parents often enough.
This is not limited to books only dealing with single-parent households.
Age-appropriate books are full of colorful stories that take children on wonderful adventures. These books provide an excellent escape for children of single parents and allow them to break away from the difficulties they are often facing.
Won’t a desire to read come naturally?
It is easy to assume that a love for reading will come naturally. However, this is not true. We live in a world with so many distractions for our kids, like TV, video games, and the internet. So it is up to us as parents to be proactive with our children and show them the joys of reading.
The earlier you start, the better, but know that it is never too late to do so.
How do I get my child to love reading and doing it more often?
If you want your child to fall in love with reading, it is crucial to create an environment for them that is conducive for reading.
Here are some easy ways for you to create a positive home environment to encourage your child to want to read often.
Although it is beneficial for single parent children to read age-appropriate books relating to being a child in a single-parent household, it is also important for them to read books on other topics. Topics that interest them. So let them choose books that they want to read.
Create a comfortable reading space for your child. This can simply be a cozy sofa or bean bag in a warm, bright section of the house where your child enjoys spending their time. And make sure their books are readily available and accessible in their reading space.
Have your child read to you every day and listen attentively when they are reading. Ask them questions about the stories they are reading and show them that you are really interested in it too. This will encourage them to read aloud, thereby increasing their confidence and making them better readers. These daily reading sessions do not have to be too long (5 – 10 minutes per session will do).
Just as you have your child read to you every day, it is just as crucial that you read to your child every day. Pausing every now and then to ask questions and talk about the stories you are reading.
Make a daily habit of letting your child choose bedtime stories for you to read to them.
Taking time to implement some of these ideas will see a marked improvement in your child’s ability and desire to read.
Reading consistently is crucial for every child’s academic and emotional development. And for children of single parents, it has the added benefit of helping them deal with their struggles and emotions when they read age-appropriate books relating to their situation. Which sets the groundwork for more open communication between child and parent.
It is important to note, consistent reading will not come naturally. It is our job as parents to take a proactive role and “teach” our kids to love reading.
Creating a special reading space, reading to your kids, and listening to them read to you every day are just some ways you can help your child develop a love for reading.
Establishing consistent reading in your children’s lives will expose them to hundreds of thousands or even millions of more words to ensure they are not at a disadvantage in their academic pursuits. It will also help them better communicate and express themselves.