What’s the Impact of Reading Aloud to Preschool Kids?
Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Living in times when technology, the internet, and social media platforms are used for almost every aspect of our lives can get us thinking if it is worth it for parents and caregivers to read to their preschoolers. Should parents take 30 minutes of their day to connect with their children through a book, or is it okay to hand the child a tablet so they can watch cartoons or play online for hours and hours? Many people might say, “I am a busy parent; I don’t have the time to read to my preschooler. Plus, they can listen to many audiobooks on the web, and I am sure their teacher will read to them.” To those parents I write today, do not let your child get consumed by the web; it can be a dangerous, addictive place, especially for a child.
Another piece of advice I offer to parents and caregivers is not to take reading sessions with your child for granted nor rely on their teacher for your preschooler to learn the value of literacy, get more mental stimulation, and reduce stress levels by reading. Reading to preschoolers is a beautiful way to engage and form a better relationship with them.
In her audiobook, “Raising Readers: How to Nurture a Child’s Love of Books,” Megan Daley says that reading to a child is to immerse them in language, and it is one of the best ways to give them a head start and help them to reach their academic potential. Higher linguistic proficiency is acquired as the child might feel the urge to repeat the familiar or unfamiliar words they listen to in the story. In addition, children tend to copy adults’ behavior, so why not read to them?
First, reading to children allows them to feel the story, get more familiar with the voice of their loved ones, and learn how to read aloud. However, learning to decode words for a preschooler might be overwhelming. Still, it is up to the parent and caregiver to develop ideas and strategies to avoid reading sessions becoming a burden. It takes time and patience when reading and teaching to young children, but eventually, they will learn not only to read but to understand the meaning behind the words truly.
Second, preschoolers who are read to develop better interpersonal relationships at a young age. Daley claims that reading can be turned into a meaningful learning experience when children enter preschool face. Preschoolers understand how a person’s vocal tone can dictate how a character in the book feels and thinks. When books are presented in different forms or modalities, children respond with enthusiasm to both the book and the person reading to them.
Usually, between three and five, a child can notice when a parent takes time to read to them out of a busy schedule.
Third, reading to preschoolers can positively impact them cognitively. Reading strengthens mental muscles and widens people’s imagination. Daley says that children between the ages of three and five (preschoolers) regularly have longer attention spans than younger children. Even though they still get easily distracted by little things, reading provides better concentration skills.
Why is it that children gain so much cognitivism by reading? According to Paige Greenwood, reading is an acquired skill that relies on cognitive control and language abilities. It is a higher-order process that relies on language skills, such as semantics, phonology, and orthography. Additionally, visual processing and executive functions. Sessions of questions and answers is another way to get that brain stimulation going, proves Lea McGee and Judith Schickedanz.
In conclusion, the more people read to children, the more they want to read by themselves. Reading to little children foster and expedite linguistic development. Reading provides preschoolers with the opportunity to develop their comprehension and analytical abilities. As children enter school for the first time, they need to be reminded of their love. Sharing a book with them is a good way for parents or caregivers to say “I love you” in the most meaningful way. It is time for parents and caregivers to put aside that electronic device, sit down and connect with a child through a book.
Daley, Megan. Raising Readers: How to Nurture a Child’s Love of Books. Narrated by Helena Plazzer, University of Queensland3 Press, 2019. Audiobook, 90 chapters.
McGee, Lea M., and Judith A. Schickedanz. “Repeated Interactive Read-Alouds in Preschool and Kindergarten.” The Reading Teacher, vol. 60, no. 8, 2007, pp. 742–51, International Reading Association, doi:10.1598/RT.60.8.4. Accessed 28 April 2021.