The Benefits of Reading Aloud
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

The Benefits of Reading Aloud

As a speech-language pathologist almost nothing makes me happier than seeing parents reading to their very young children. Even at ages 1 – 2 and younger, reading helps children learn, often in ways that may be difficult to see. That’s why I am happy to share these tips from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and ReadAloud.org.

Beginning reading at a young age gives children an expanded vocabulary, an understanding of how books and reading work, knowledge about the world and people, imaginative fuel, close emotional bonds and warm memories with you, and a love of reading that will last a lifetime. It also provides an extraordinary start in their development of speech, language, hearing, and understanding and a great foundation for later learning.

Here are some tips for making story time fun and engaging for both you and your child:

Pick up books wherever you can, including tag sales and second-hand stores. Make friends with your local children’s librarian and visit the library often.

Give your child an active role. Keep books within easy reach, and let your child choose which books to read at story time. Let your child turn the pages. Engaging them as much as possible will make book time something they look forward to.

Take your time. Linger over the illustrations. Point to pictures, and name the things you see. Notice the feelings and situations unfolding. Kids will quickly do the same, which will help them build their vocabulary at lightning speed.

Ask questions. Studies have shown that children learn best through back-and-forth interaction with a loving caregiver. You can relate the book to their real-life experiences, ask questions about the book, and encourage and answer questions from your child.

Repeat. Your child may want to read the same favorite book again and again. The repetition and familiar phrases are such a joy for them. They may even memorize a favorite book. Indulge some repetition while introducing books that could become the next favorite.  

Rebecca Carey, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist at SVMC Outpatient Rehabilitation, part of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Health Care in Bennington.

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