To read aloud to children I early years is an investment in children’s future!
A child’s language develops in interaction with others. Therefore it is important that parents and close relatives stimulate the child’s language development by talking, narrating, reading and singing.
It is important to read to children already from birth. The time before children can talk themselves, is the most important time for language development. Thanks to being read to early in life, children get to hear more words, varying texts and experience dialogue inspired by books. Research shows that the age of the child when you start to read to him or her is of great importance for the child’s later language skills. During the children’s two first years of life, the brain, and especially the language centre, is growing a lot. This means that the child is more receptive to developing its language.
Reading often – having a fixed routine for reading – is also important. To regularly speak with and read to babies from birth, already at 12-months old children will understand more words than children who are not read to. At 2-years-of-age, children will have a larger and more nuanced vocabulary than those children who are not read to. Research shows that the more words the babies hears, the more words they will use in the future. Children, who have been read to a lot already from birth, have heard many million more words when they are four years old, compared to children who did not have the same experience. Studies show that it is difficult to close this gap later in life. This means that during the first three years of the children’s lives, reading aloud to them can give the children the best foundation for further learning.
Sessions of reading aloud can create an interest in books and reading for pleasure.
It should be a right for all children to listen to reading aloud, as this can help children exercise their vocabulary, comprehension, empathy and fantasy. When a text is being read aloud, children can meet many words that they never have the chance to meet in everyday conversation. This important for their future language development.
Excerpts from Playtime Seychelles publication “The Importance of the Mother Tongue for Children’s Education and Intellectual Development and the Importance of reading aloud to children for their language development”