Reading Stories Aloud To Young Children

Reading aloud to young children at home by a family member can be a beneficial engagement in the success of the child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional life. It builds motivation, curiosity, and memory. Also, it can help children to cope during times of stress or anxiety.

Read early and read often as experts suggest. Babies can enjoy listening to the lullabies, rhymes, and stories. They won’t understand everything, but they can benefit from a wonderful shared activity of stimulation. Hearing the reader’s soothing voice and words will help build their listening, memory, and vocabulary skills.  

According to the 2016 US Educational Statistics Report, 81% of young children between the ages of 3-5 that are not yet enrolled in kindergarten have been read to at least 3-4 times a week.  Parents may be sharing their family tradition of reading with their young children as they have experienced in their childhood. Others may have resources that they want to offer children to reach their full potential.

Reading aloud to young children can promote language development and early literacy skills. As a routine of reading aloud for a few minutes each time, the activity can strengthen the association with happiness. It develops a positive bonding time within the family that is nurturing and comforting.  In addition, the young listener expands his or her knowledge, builds a scheme of awareness, taps into their imagination, and may start to ask inquisitive questions about the topic.  It can lead to thoughtful conversations within the family after.

It is most rewarding for young children to have an adult reading role model at home. When children observe a routine of an adult reading for pleasure, it can affect the children to emulate the positive liking of books and encourages a life-long reading behavior.

Also, when a story or book is re-read aloud, again and again, children may want to do the same and re-read their preferred books, again as well. As children process familiarity of the book contents or pictures, possibly there will be more requests of the book read aloud to them.  And even if the child does not already have any print awareness, the child may begin to ‘read’ aloud in their own words to share their reading with others.  Their ‘reading’ may be seen as identifying the pictures, words, or sharing the gist of the story.

During the listening of the stories, children can learn about new ideas, situations or characters making, them more prepared or aware of the world that is real or imaginary. As more language exposure increases, their vocabulary and comprehension increases. More awareness of illustrations or print words becomes noticeable and intriguing. In application, children can have a plethora of information to express themselves clearly and confidently. 

There are too many great reasons to engage in reading aloud to young children. It is never too early to start or too late to do so. Children will benefit from the consistency and frequency of the positive experience.

Here are some sites offering reading tips for parents:

Julie Liu, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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