If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard someone say that reading to children from pregnancy and the first years of life is very important. A study published in 2018 provided scientific evidence on this topic.
The research, led by pediatrician Dr. John Hutton, revealed that even living with different screens and electronic devices, children’s books are the most appropriate stimuli to help the children of the Alpha Generation develop and integrate different brain connections.
Thus, we can say that reading to children is much more than telling a story.
During family reading time, little ones have stimulated hearing, activate different areas of the brain, give free rein to their imagination, and create unique memories with their parents. This helps to strengthen the emotional bonds between parent and child.
Reading with children is important because…
Below, we’ll show you five benefits of reading with children and how each of them contributes to their integral development. Then, you can check the main children’s literary genres and see tips to encourage this habit at home.
Helps with school performance
Within the literacy and learning processes, children who have a familiar reading routine show better school performance. This happens because they have a larger vocabulary of words, a better relationship with writing, more developed notions about colors, shapes, and sounds, and also the ease of absorbing new content.
The creativity and imagination stimulated during times of family reading also help children to communicate and socialize at school.
Expand the repertoire
Children’s books are the gateways to different worlds. In the stories, full of fun and adventure, children discover new realities, root for their favorite characters, and begin to imagine and create their narratives.
With this, the visual, cultural, and creative repertoire of the little ones are developed. This provides greater openness to deal with and live with the diversity present in the world.
Living with technology has increased childhood anxiety rates in children born after 2010. For this reason, stopping to read a book with the family helps the little ones to disconnect from the screens and invites them to relax outside the technological environment.
While having fun with the stories, children share special family moments. This strengthens affective bonds, reducing anxiety and providing a safe space for the development of socio-emotional intelligence.
Stimulates the brain
The habit of reading books with children activates different brain areas, which increases and expands the connections between neurons.
For this reason, scholars say that developing the habit of reading in childhood and maintaining it as children grow, stimulates the mind and prevents the onset of brain diseases in adulthood.
Strengthens affective bonds
Reading with children is a special moment of connection between parents and children, and it’s optimal to be present to enjoy quality time together.
While reading, families share emotions, laughs, and discoveries with their little ones. This provides special memories that will be forever cherished in your children’s minds and hearts.
What to read to children?
Once you know the benefits of reading in childhood, it is also important to know what the main literary genres for children are. That way, choosing the ideal book to read with your child will be easier.
Below, we list children’s favorite categories when it comes to reading.
Legends and myths
Legends are popular stories passed down from generation to generation that may have different versions depending on the region where they are told. Some examples of this literary genre are the folk tales legends, like the Big Foot and the Tooth Fairy.
Myths, in turn, are narratives that involve magical and even supernatural beings, as is the case in the stories of Greek mythology.
Constructed from short narratives, fables are texts usually accompanied by a moral that seeks to convey important lessons to children.
Some of the best-known fables include the Hare and the Turtle, the Ant and the Grasshopper, and the Scorpion and the Frog.
Chronicles are stories that present in their narrative elements of the child’s daily life. In this way, the childl can identify with and participate in solving the problem presented. This literary genre encourages the development of child protagonism, in addition to encouraging children’s autonomy.
Tales are short stories in which characters need to face a challenge or solve a certain problem. The best-known narratives in this genre are fairy tales, in which children are inspired by the characters’ attitudes, like Jack and The Beanstalk, the Princess and The Pea, and Hansel and Gretel.
How to read to children?
To ensure that family reading is a fun time for little ones, it is important to know how to read to children of every age group.
Babies up to 2 years old
- Even in the belly, babies can already identify sounds, so reading for this age group can start even before birth.
- To encourage the little ones to engage with the stories, you can read short excerpts every day.
- Remember to use gestures, facial expressions and change your tone of voice while reading.
- As the child develops, he or she will be able to observe and touch the pages of the book. At this stage, it is important to observe the child’s sounds and expressions when interacting with the books.
3 to 5 years
- To stimulate children’s curiosity, ask questions about the characters in the story as they read.
- Encourage the child to tell their version of the story.
- Ask the little ones the sequence of the story if they are reading a previously read book.
- If the text has a word that is new to your child, explain its meaning while reading. In this way, the child will be able to expand their vocabulary.
6 to 8 years
- Encouraging reading aloud is important, as children in this age group are learning to read.
- Even if your child knows how to read, be sure to read aloud to them
- Let the child suggest new themes for reading and take the opportunity to stimulate dialogue based on the chosen preferences.
- At this age, children start having more activities in their routine, so it is important to ensure that reading is a fun time and not an obligation.
9 years or more
- As children in this age group are more mature, you can start introducing different literary genres.
- Have the child read it to the family and explain what they learn from the story.
- Keep sharing moments of reading with the child so that the bonds and learning in the family are strengthened.
Playstories: learning through fun reading
To encourage literacy and reading in a playful and enjoyable way, Playstories creates personalized books for kids where children are protagonists in stories with which they can relate.
Creating the child’s own character with all their characteristics increases the interest for the book and connection with the story, stimulating learning.