Reading aloud is very pleasant and fun, both for the child and for the parents. Fortunately, a lot of parents agree, because reading aloud is not only fun but also very important in the child’s development.
Children between the ages of two and five are especially read aloud. 90% of this group is read out regularly.
This number is much lower for younger children. Children under the age of one, in particular, are read much less. Only 30% of the parents of a baby sometimes read their baby aloud. Many parents find their baby too young to understand. This is of course also partially the case. A child of less than one year can not really follow a story. But with a young baby (3/4 months) pictures can already be viewed and what is shown can be named. It is, however, essential to choose a book with simple, clear drawings and to keep viewing a booklet no longer than a few minutes From a month or 9/10 you can also start reading simple stories. Especially stories in rhyme are very popular with this age group.
As they get older, parents also read less and less. For the group of children between nine and twelve years old, only around 40% is read. The most important reason for not reading anymore is that the child can read well. And that is a shame because reading at this age can also be enjoyable.
Why reading aloud is essential.
Reading aloud is not only fun but can also play an important role in the development of a child. Young children learn a lot from reading aloud. In the first place, reading aloud is very good for language development. Children learn new words while reading and they learn how a good sentence is structured. And by also talking to the child about the book, the child is also encouraged to use language actively.
Secondly, children learn to listen well when they are read and to concentrate. Reading aloud also stimulates the child’s imagination.
Depending on the subject of the book, the child also learns a lot about the world around him, which gives him / her more control over the immediate world around them. Reading aloud about a topic that the child is currently working on (anxiety, death, hospitalization, etc.) can also provide support and be a good way to talk to the child about these topics.
But also the sense of safety that children receive, the pleasure that children experience during reading aloud and the exclusive attention they receive while reading aloud, are important for the child’s development. And reading a book together can also help bring peace and regularity. Children come to rest while reading aloud and by reading at set times regularity and structure can be offered in the day. Reading aloud can be a good part of the ritual before going to sleep.
What to pay attention to when reading aloud.
Many parents read before going to sleep, but reading is possible at any time of the day. It is good to take the time to read and preferably also choose a peaceful environment to read. Although in the car or in the waiting room at the dentist can also be a very nice diversion for the child. How long it is read mainly depends on the child. Children clearly indicate when their attention is weakening. With young children, it is best to choose a short story so that the book/story can be read at once. If the child wants to be read more, another story can be read. With young children, it is also important to pay attention to the pictures in the book. Young children are very fond of repetition. It is therefore good to read a book multiple times.
Children often come with questions and comments during the reading. It is good to go into this and talk to the child about the story, but then pick it up again. After the book/story is then finished, we can talk a little further. If the child does not come up with reactions to the story, it may be good to ask questions.
Incidentally, even before the reading is started, the book can be discussed with the child. This way, the cover of the book can be viewed, and the parent and child can think together about what the book will be about.
Reading aloud with voices can be very nice for a child, but can make it difficult for the parent to read aloud. And a great deal can also be achieved with varying the intonation. It is important to keep in good contact with the child while reading and always to see how it responds to the story. When the child finds the story scary, a joke in between, a different intonation, a different word choice and possibly adapting the story or skipping a bit can make the story less scary. While with a child who enjoys an exciting story, the story can be made extra exciting through intonation.
When choosing a book, it is essential to choose a book that suits the child in terms of theme, length of the story, amount of pictures, etc. But it is also good to select a book that you, as a parent, would like to read to you. Reading from a book that you don’t like is not fun as a parent, but often does not work out for the child. It can also be useful to make the child a choice (a bookshelf at child height can be very useful),
Reading, fun for two
Reading is perfect for the development of a child. But reading aloud should be fun and something that both children and parents can enjoy. Because of the story that is being read, but also because of being together and the particular attention to each other.