Importance of Reading at Home
Dr. Kristi Smith   •   June 1, 2022

As young children continue to develop and get older, one of the most important aspects of their development is language development. Every parent is eager for their kindergartner to come home reading fluently, but that skill starts many years before. Reading at home with your children helps them to strengthen their language, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

An article by ScienceDaily states that research shows that there can be up to a “million-word gap” for children who are not read to at home versus those who are. The study found that children who were read 5 children’s books a day at home had heard over one million words more than those who were not read to at home. That million-word gap, has a huge impact on a child’s ability to comprehend and understand vocabulary words. The article states that “kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school… They are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily.”

With the understanding that more time reading equals better understanding and fluency, there is no better time to start reading with your child at home regularly then now! June marks the beginning of summer which is a time to relax and spend quality time as a family. One of the best ways to do this is by carving out a little time each night to have your little one curl up with a good book or two!

Here are some suggestions to help make reading routine at your home and build successful readers:

Whether you read one book or five that night, carving out time to dedicate to reading helps to teach young children that reading is important and a priority in their lives. 
Reading with young children can be a challenge for those who do not concentrate well.Try to find a quiet spot that allows them to not be distracted. Curling up in your lap in a favorite chair or in their room is a great way to help focus children on the book as well as show them you care. 
Try going to your local library to check out a book or a bookstore to buy some new children’s books. By bringing your child along to select new books, they will be more interested in engaging with them when you get home.

No matter the age, interact with the book by asking questions. If you have a book that happens to have more words on the page then they will concentrate on, engage the child by asking questions about the pictures and what they think may happen next. Try asking open-ended questions to hear your child’s thoughts on what the book is talking about versus questions that can be answered with a simple one-word answer. 
As ou read with a child, explain to them how to handle and book and how to read it. Point to the words as you read them aloud so that children can learn that you read books moving from left to right one line at a time. Teach them how the title of the books tells us what it is about and how to turn the pages softly.Taking care of books properly is an important skill for a young reader to have!

More than anything, reading should be fun! Choose books on topics that your child is passionate about. If they are into robots, dinosaurs, princesses, trains, or animals, find books that fit those topics. By picking a book topic that interests your child, you will have very little issue in engaging them for short periods of time to look at the pictures and follow along as you read!

Remember that the goal for family reading time is to enjoy spending time together while your child accesses a wide variety of books and new words. Even from a young age, children continue to hear and pick up new vocabulary words daily! Reading with you nightly is a key component in making sure your child has the literary foundation needed to be successful once they start kindergarten!

Reference: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404074947.htm

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