Young children enjoy the rituals of bedtime, including tucking in their covers, getting a glass of water, receiving a goodnight kiss and, especially, hearing a bedtime story. However, only 53 percent of American children are hearing stories read to them at home at least two to three times a week, according to the National Education Association.
If you’re one of those parents who feels you just don’t have the time to read to your kids that often or that it’s not really that important, we’ve got news for you. Reading at home to children promotes a lifetime of literacy in three big ways. Happily, reading with your children can also have other benefits for both you and your child, so even if you’re not concerned with literacy itself so much, you can know you’re giving your kid a great gift by taking a few minutes to share a bedtime story.
First, reading with a child at home promotes a sense of intimacy between the parent and the child. This intimacy helps the child become more intelligent and experience a sense of well being and joy. As the children grow older, they read to regain those feelings of intimacy and joy found in being read to when they were younger.
Second, when parents read to their children, the children become calmer and less restless. Reading to a small child teaches that child to focus on one task for a longer period of time. These children will grow up to read more to relax after a long day. The longer attention span on a single task for longer periods allows them to enjoy reading more than a child that wasn’t read to from an early age.
Lastly, children who hear their parents read to them at home learn from an early age that reading is fun. As they look forward to hearing a bedtime story or reading time, they don’t view reading as a chore. When these children reach school age, they enjoy reading, and it doesn’t seem like work to them.
In reading to young children, parents help their children become smarter and excel in school in many ways, including counting to 10 and beyond, recognizing the alphabet and exercising logic and reasoning skills, according to Raise Smart Kids.