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Why Read to Your Preschooler?

By Renee Mosiman, M.A. and Mike Mosiman,
Authors of The Smarter Preschooler

Most parents know that reading to their kids is important. According to a report prepared by The Center for the Study of Reading for the National Academy of Education’s Commission on Public Policy, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. This is especially so during the preschool years.” We will explore some of the reasons reading to your child is so beneficial.

Gain One-on-One Time

Reading to your child affords you the opportunity to give your child one hundred percent of your attention, unlike the rest of the day. And, as most parents can attest, reading to your child is a gratifying experience. When your son or daughter climbs in your lap for a story, there is an emotional closeness between you and your child that strengthens your relationship. This time together will also give your child a positive reading experience that will shape his or her attitude towards books.

The Smarter Preschooler!

Achieve Phonological Awareness

Reading to your child can help achieve phonological awareness—to hear the difference between words, as well as the differences in the syllables and letter sounds. This phonological awareness is a critical skill children must acquire before they learn to read. Children with greater phonological awareness learn to read more quickly.

Increase Vocabulary

Reading to your youngster increases his or her vocabulary level. Books contain richer and more varied language than that heard on television or in everyday conversation. For example, there may be words that are regional or from a different time period that you will only find in books.

Improve Reading Comprehension

Vocabulary skills are correlated to reading comprehension. Children who have greater vocabularies not only learn to read more easily, but make better readers. By about fourth grade, those with the larger vocabularies have better reading comprehension, and
the advantage continues into high school.

Gain Exposure to More Complex and Varied Sentences

While books contain more complex and varied sentence structure than the spoken language, books differ greatly in the details and descriptions they use. In addition to the varied storylines, books are written by authors with their own unique voices and writing styles. Also, there are stylistic differences between nonfiction and fiction books. Nonfiction books are written with a more direct voice and are not likely to include any dialogue. In fiction works, the writing can be as simple as a short poem or as imaginative and fanciful as Alice in Wonderland.

Boost General Knowledge

An increase in overall knowledge is another benefit of reading. The subjects to read about are endless, and the more variety your child is exposed to, the more your child will retain. Since overall knowledge is a component of intelligence, it is safe to say that if you read a wide range of books to your child, you will have a smarter preschooler.

Enhance Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills are cultivated as you read to your preschooler. Many stories present a problem followed by a solution. Children can also see how different abilities and skill sets may also be used to solve a problem.

Grow Curiosity

Finally, reading anything to your child shapes personality by fostering creativity and curiosity. If you expose your kids to a variety of reading material early, they will find many subjects interesting and will acquire a desire to learn more. Your child can discover the magic of books and develop a life-long interest in learning.

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