June 16, 2020

Bedtime Books = Brilliant Babies: Why Now Is The Time To Read To Your Child

It’s impossible to overstate the positive effects reading has on a young mind. Study after study shows us that children who are read to have an easier time with both academics and social life. As a bonus, reading aloud is a fun, free, and family-friendly form of entertainment — something every parent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic!

It’s impossible to overstate the positive effects reading has on a young mind. Study after study shows us that children who are read to have an easier time with both academics and social life. As a bonus, reading aloud is a fun, free, and family-friendly form of entertainment — something every parent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic!

In this blog, I’m explaining why reading time is SO crucial for your child’s early development. You’ll also find a few reading tips along the way and a list of my all-time FAVORITE kid-approved books!

What Are The Benefits Of Reading Aloud To Kids?

1. Bookworms Get a Brain Boost

It might sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but reading literally rewires our brains. Don’t believe me? Well then, you should check out the shocking MRI scans in a recent study done at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital.

Scientists compared the minds of preschoolers who were read to vs. kiddos who only used digital devices. They found that kids who were read to had far greater brain connectivity than those who were glued to their smartphones. Scientists also noted that kids who were exposed to books had much better comprehension and expression skills.

If that doesn’t convince you of the power of early reading, well, I don’t know what will!

Importance of Reading IG Post

2. Form A “Book Bond” With Your Little Buddy!

Beyond boosting your baby’s brain function, reading aloud is a beautiful way to bond with your little one. If you were read to during your childhood, you know just how powerful these memories can be! Plus, by creating positive associations with reading, it’s more likely your child will naturally gravitate towards books.  

But the “book bonding” doesn’t have to stop after your little baby grows up. As your kiddo matures and explores more complex texts, you can encourage his or her reading habits by having discussions about these new stories. Reading alongside your child will help you better understand his or her interests, talents, and personality.    

3. Explore Challenging Topics In A Safe Space

Another huge benefit of reading is that it encourages your child to ask difficult questions in a “safe space.” There are many children’s books that tackle touchy topics in such a graceful way for kiddos — like bullying, discrimination, and fear. Early exposure to these issues, as well as the successful strategies taught in these books, could better prepare them for the inevitable “growing pains.”

By reading about real-world issues at home, you can teach your little ones the importance of self-esteem and sympathy. You could also remind your children that they should feel comfortable sharing their problems and concerns with you.

How to Add Some Zest to a Reading Routine

Keep The Conversation Going: Ask Plenty Of Questions

Reading naturally provokes curiosity, so you should be ready for a boatload of questions from your kiddo. You could also prepare a few questions beforehand to test your child’s comprehension skills.

During your conversations, be sure to figure out what your little one is most interested in reading about. Pay attention to what texts light up their imagination so you could pick the perfect topic for your next reading adventure.  

Play-Acting & Painting: Ignite Their Imagination  

You don’t need a TV to take intergalactic journeys — all you need is a good book, a few props, and a whole lot of imagination! I’ve had SO much fun creating at-home live performances with some of the families i’ve nannied in the past based on whatever book we were reading at the time! It’s SUCH a blast and keeps them entertained for hours!

If acting isn’t for your child, then try creating a game out of their favorite stories! For instance, you could make a pirate treasure map and hide treats throughout your home. You could also get a few paintbrushes and encourage them to draw episodes from their favorite chapters! The possibilities are endless — all you need is just a bit of creativity!

Sign Up For Community Activities

What better way to support your child’s love of reading than to sign up for family-friendly group activities? First, you should check your local library for special events and gatherings. At these get-togethers, your child will have the opportunity to not only grow his or her reading skills, but also interact with fellow bookworms!

Along with your local library, you can also sign up for reading groups online! For instance, Virtual Book Club For Kids has a BUNCH of socially distant ways to stay connected.

My Top 10 Recommended Books For Kids

OK, now that you’re convinced reading is EXTREMELY significant for early childhood development, you might be wondering where to begin. If you’re looking for kid-friendly favorites to add to your bookshelves, try out my top 10 favorite books for little ones:

Best For Pre-Readers (Ages 0 – 2)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the definition of a classic children’s book. Even 21st-century toddlers are amazed at how this page-expanding caterpillar transforms into a majestic butterfly. Just be sure to have a few snacks nearby, because your little one might get hungry looking at all of those colorful foods!

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

Published about 30 years ago, Eric Hill’s Where’s Spot? is great for kids who love hands-on experiences. With its interactive moveable flaps, kids play an active role in searching for the adorable pup Spot. Along the way, they will also learn the names of many different animals.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

In Drew Daywalt’s inventive The Day the Crayons Quit, a young boy named Duncan has to negotiate with a feisty crayon box. In addition to learning the different colors, your child might pick up conflict resolution skills while reading this laugh-out-loud book.    

Best For Beginner Readers (Ages 3 – 5)

Corduroy by Don Freeman

Over 50 years old, Don Freeman’s classic Corduroy is a precious story about a teddy bear’s quest for belonging. Even though Corduroy doesn’t find his missing button, he learns a far greater lesson: true love means embracing another’s imperfections.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

An icon of the 1960s, Where the Wild Things Are is perfect for parents who have rowdy boys in their home. Max’s incredible journey to a monster-infested island remains one of the most remarkable portrayals of anger, fear, and forgiveness.

Best For Independent Readers (Ages 6 – 8)

Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

Help your child get a head start on history with Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House Series. In each of these novels, Jack and Annie go on time-traveling adventures to dozens of exciting destinations. If you get your kid hooked on this series, then you might have a little historian on your hands!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

If your little one has fears about the first day of school, then have them read the hilarious exploits of the “wimpy” Greg Heffley. Told with a sharp first-person voice and packed with funny drawings, Diary of a Wimpy Kid has become an unofficial survival guide for middle-schoolers.

Best For Pre-Teen Readers (Ages 9 – 12)

Matilda by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Matilda is a fantastical novel that’s perfect for young female readers. Although Matilda has powerful psychic abilities, Dahl emphasizes Matilda’s morality and intelligence as she confronts some terrifying adult figures. As a bonus, Matilda was recently made into a Broadway musical, so be sure to plan a sing-along!

Holes by Louis Sachar

It’s safe to say a lot of people “dig” Louis Sachar’s Holes! This story of a cursed young boy’s experiences in a Texas detention center isn’t just a fantastic mystery; it also sheds light on complex issues like poverty and racism. Since this novel is so full of twists and turns, however, we don’t want to spoil the surprises!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a dazzling novel that centers on Meg Murry’s quest to find her father in an alternate dimension. Children who love sci-fi and fantasy are the best fit for this award-winning young adult novel. Just be prepared for some pretty big questions, because A Wrinkle in Time doesn’t shy away from issues like the nature of evil, spirituality, and conformity.

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