Benefits of Reading to Children (Part 1) – 6 Strengthening Attributes


Read to Child 7 8 14

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.”
– Carl Jung

Never underestimate the power of reading to children. Today I want to look at six attributes that can stimulate and develop the child’s mental growth. And all are obtained from children’s picture books. These include the child’s attitude toward books, their cognition, vocabulary, attention span, imagination, and their bond with you.

When a child sees you reading, they also want to read. This builds a favorable attitude towards their perception of books. Dr. Alan Kazdin explains, “The main idea to bear in mind here is that modeling – teaching by example – affects behavior far more than telling your children what to do …”

In addition, reading to the child stimulates their cognitive development. In an earlier blog, I talked about Bloom’s Classification of Cognitive Skills in which there are six categories. These categories include: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. [Please see my July 1, 2014 blog ] Clearly, the importance of daily reading to the child creates very positive cognition outcomes, and these will naturally build over time.

It’s no accident that as the reading process continues, the child’s vocabulary will also strengthen. The research of Hayes and Ahrens (1988) has shown that reading volume is the primary reason for children’s vocabulary differences rather than oral language. Another interesting point is that Hayes and Ahrens found that children’s books “… have 50 percent more rare words in them than adult prime- time television or conversations of college graduates.”

As more and more books are read to the child, their imagination begins to improve. And according to Sir Ken Robinsion, an international expert in learning, imagination is the “key driver of creativity and innovation.” So go ahead and let those wonderful children’s picture books help play a crucial role in building your child’s imagination! Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carlie, and Goodnight Moon by Maragrat Wise-Brown are all excellent picture books that will quickly stir up any child’s imagination and creativity.

As the reading process of the adult and child continues, a natural bond between them forms. Story time is such an excellent way to get a conversation going. Ask your child questions about the behavior of the characters or how the illustration interprets a particular scene in the book. What traits define the protagonist and why does the spotlight continually shine on them? You can even add your child’s name in the story. Turn that children’s picture book into a Broadway show by adding special voices for each character. You’ll both have loads of fun!

~ Robert Scott Thayer