Does “finish your homework, eat your dinner, have your bath AND THEN you can have iPad time before bed” sound familiar?
Tablets, iPads, android phones, play station, Wii, Xbox and YouTube … chances are in your household these would be prime examples of your childs favourite pastime activities.
Today it is very easy to get caught up in technology and all its advances. While devices such as iPads have benefits including new ways to motivate our children to engage in educational activities and of course to be used as a motivating reward for behaviour – this comes at a cost.
We are unknowingly replacing time your child could be spending learning and engaging in joint attention activities such as reading a book!
Did you know? Reading books with your child from day one will help them develop social, language and literacy skills.
It does not matter whether your child is a) not yet talking b) learning to talk or c) can talk and attends school or high school – encouraging your child to READ for leisure will help them to develop skills to perform to their full potential socially and academically.
Here are FIVE FACTS about the benefits of Book Reading:
one – Reading improves language skills!
Talking about the pictures and reading the words of the story will help your child to:
- Increase vocabulary
- Learn new words
- Learn and use more advanced and grammatically correct sentences, and
- Develop conversation skills through answering and asking questions.
two – Reading improves social skills!
Reading a variety of books about different people places and events helps your child to:
- Learn about the world around them outside of their own experiences
- Develop imagination that can be shown through imaginative play or creative writing
- Develop empathy by imagining how they would feel in the character’s situation, and
- Engage in joint attention activities with others during shared reading.
three – Reading improves a child’s academic performance!
Encouraging book reading from a young age will give your child the best opportunity to perform to their full potential at school.
four – Did you know?
- Reading makes you smarter. It requires far more brain activity than watching TV or playing digital games and strengthens and builds new brain connections!
- Reading books helps improve concentration. Children learn from a young age to sit still, complete tasks and attend to tasks for longer and longer periods of time.
- Reading books from a young age helps develop ‘Print Awareness Skills’ (knowledge of book orientation, words, grammar, title, author) and ‘Phonological Awareness Skills’ (early literacy skills) required when learning to read and write.
- Children who are good readers tend to achieve better across all subjects of the curriculum, not just English.
five – Practise makes perfect!
If your child is struggling with reading and writing at school the best solution is to READ READ and READ!
Here are some tips on how to encourage your child to read:
- Make reading MEANINGFUL and encourage your child to read different text types in their everyday life (e.g. menus, bus/train timetables, cinema timetables, TV guides, toy catalogues).
- Make reading FUN! Take a trip to your nearest bookshop or library and encourage your child to choose reading books about topics that are interesting and meaningful to them!
- Make reading ROUTINE! Rather than 15 minutes iPad time before bed, why not read picture books with your child or encourage them to have silent reading time before bed? At least 15 minutes of book reading for leisure a day could make a world of difference to your child’s development.