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Good Housekeeping
Chinggay Labrador, Contributor
April 04, 2010

Ready for Reading: Why You Should Read to Your Kids

Open your kids' minds by introducing them to the wonderful world of books. By Chinggay Labrador
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why_read_to_kids_article.jpgRemember that scene from The Blind Side where Sandra Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne, reads the story of Ferdinand the Bull to Michael and young SJ while older sister Collins listens from the next room? Didn’t it give you that sweet feeling of family togetherness? Perhaps it made you want to read more books to your own kids—and you should!

Before they can even construct complete sentences or know the ins and outs of punctuation and pronunciation by heart, kids can have an affinity for books. Creating personal mini-libraries for your tots at an early age can kick-start many positive attitudes and habits that can help them as they grow into young ones fully equipped to face the challenges of school and the real world.

Check out these five benefits you get from reading to your kids from an early age:


Whether you’re reading out loud to your child or helping him form words letter by letter, exposing kids to books gives them a more advanced and firmer grasp of the language. Not only are spelling skills developed, but children become more adept at pronouncing new words, no matter which language you read to them in. Even picture books help build vocabulary, as children begin associating images with names and the things they represent. Having a good grip of language translates into good communication skills, which can help your child as he heads into school.


Books can open kids’ eyes in ways that TV or video games cannot. Whether you’re presenting them fun facts and trivia in colorful almanacs and record books, or exposing them to far off fairytale lands or mysterious adventures, books can stimulate them, allowing them to create pictures in their minds like no other media can. Stories can help them investigate what they would do in circumstances that real life may not be able to offer, introduce them to a wide array of places and cultures, and teach them about all sorts of people.


The quiet time spent between parent and child, just flipping through the pages of a storybook, is always time well spent. For parents, reading is a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day; and for kids, it’s a wonderful send off before they fall asleep. Whatever age your child is, he will always be able to look back on story time as your own private bonding moment!


With the frantic pace of TV shows, movies and video games, it’s easy to understand why kids these days aren’t able to sit still too long. Setting aside some time for books and reading can help them develop concentration and focus—traits that will help them in school, and will help keep them well-behaved at home, too.


Children who love to read typically achieve academic success more easily, as books can help build aptitude in far-reaching areas. A simple story can open your kids’ eyes to science, social studies, and history. A love for reading sharpens communication skills and a love for language as well—aspects that can help kids socialize in groups and develop a keen interest in the arts as well. Children’s books can also help kids establish reading as a lifelong habit—something that can take them places as they grow into adults.

When you read to your kids, you should make it as fun as possible in order to tickle their interest and imagination. You can try changing up your voice with every character or stopping now and again to ask your child what he or she thinks will happen next. You should also never assume that your child is “too old” to be read to, even if he or she already knows how to read since this may be a very enjoyable experience for them, and taking it away may not be a very good reward for their learning this essential skill. You can also engage older kids’ help with reading to younger ones. The most important thing is to make sure they have fun so they’ll learn faster and develop a stronger bond with you.


(Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment)

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  • Lourdes Espanol Apr 04 2010 @ 07:52am Report Abuse
    Reading to your kids is important because for busy moms it's a way to bond with their kids.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • mary ann Apr 04 2010 @ 11:26pm Report Abuse
    I tried to read to my 2-year-old nephew pero wala pa talaga siya interes eh, wag pilitin
    Last modified A long time ago
  • marchineness09 Apr 05 2010 @ 12:39am Report Abuse
    Our parents do not read to us a lot. But they always leave us with something to read littered around the house. When we were young, we often see them reading together and we got curious and we would also read. I took up some units in education and I learned that children in their formative years learned through imitation. Habits of parents can influence their children so before urging their children to read, they themselves should demonstrate that to the child so that he or she can easily pick up reading habits.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Blanca Apr 05 2010 @ 01:12pm Report Abuse
    I value reading a lot and this is something that I passed on as well to my daughter. I started introduding books to her when she was just a baby. I would patiently read and show her picture books all the time. Every night I read aloud to her until she was old enough to read books on her own. I have seen the positive effects of reading on my daughter. She has become more imaginative, expressive and creative. Her being a reader helped her excel in school since it broadened her vocabulary. It has also greatly improve her comprehension skills which is very important in almost all subjects. Lately, she had stepped up another level, she not only read books but attempt to make stories of her own too. If she cannot find something useful to do around the house, expect to see her sitting in a quiet corner around the house with a book on her lap. She told me one time, I may not be able to travel during summer like my other classmates but i still get to be in so many places with my books mommy. Reading will do that to your child, she will go places with reading.=)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • pinkpie Apr 05 2010 @ 08:23pm Report Abuse
    We always do this before bed time. We enjot it a lot!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Vivian Apr 05 2010 @ 10:40pm Report Abuse
    I thank God for the opportunity to read bedtime stories to my kids. I believe, even just a few minutes of reading to them just before they go to sleep makes a lot of difference to their young lives. It's always a blessing knowing that before they go to sleep, it's your face they see, your voice they hear, your scent they smell and your closeness they feel.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • ria villareal Apr 06 2010 @ 12:48am Report Abuse
    My 2 year old son love to read that is why im lucky. thanks for the tips. i make sure i read to him everyday.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • zyramae_12 Apr 06 2010 @ 09:30am Report Abuse
    I am not a parent, but I read books with my nephews sometimes..and it is the best bonding ever.. sharing insights and a lot more
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Cathrina Lim Apr 07 2010 @ 09:48am Report Abuse
    I am grateful to my mom for reading to me so often when I was just a kid. I believe it really helped me because reading and writing wasn't at all hard for me when I was little and learning. I always aced those subjects when I was young and wondered why the rest of the class had a hard time learning how to. I wasn't the top of the class when we all grew up, so that's when I realized I wasn't at all special, it's my mom that really helped me in my early learning years. It did alot for me as a kid =)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • anne Apr 12 2010 @ 12:12am Report Abuse
    how i wish my son would stop running all over the house and just listen everytime i read a book for him. he's so hyperactive that reading a book bores him.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Valerie Apr 23 2010 @ 10:56am Report Abuse
    I put my son to sleep by reading Bible stories. Now, I notice that he wants to read on his own just by describing what he sees in each page..
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Teresa Apr 25 2010 @ 03:38am Report Abuse
    yung mga kids ko kahit paulit ulit yung kwento gusto nila.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Adee Espino May 05 2010 @ 07:42pm Report Abuse
    My parents are both avid readers and my sisters and i grew up surrounded by books from different genre. I am now a mom and would like my children to inherit this passion for reading. Even before giving birth, I would already read aloud to my babies knowing that they could hear my voice from inside the womb. Everyday, I set aside time to read books with my two babies. My two-year-old now enjoys browsing throught her books by herself. Her lively imagination and advanced language skills, i believe, were developed from our countless reading sessions.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • gwendalyn May 15 2010 @ 11:25pm Report Abuse
    I have introduced reading to my son as early as 6months.. I know most wont believe but, when he wakes up, the firt thing he plays with are his books. never tears a book. now he's already 3, not going to school yet, but he can read already, write letters even without my assistance.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • damselflypoet Jul 03 2010 @ 08:31pm Report Abuse
    I want to read to my kids in the future! :) And to have the love of my life secretly surveying me feeling warm and fuzzy all over knowing we are his family. I'm so cheesy! :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • kposh12 Dec 21 2011 @ 01:45pm Report Abuse
    Expose children to books prior to developing reading skills. I am a preschool teacher and I have seen kids who haven't even started reading enjoy looking at the pictures and trying to form stories out of it. This does not only make them more creative and imaginative, it also develops their language and communication skills. I know working parents experience a difficult time balancing work and family life, but just 30 mins before bedtime, read to them and bond with them. This short period of time can make a huge difference.
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