Studies show that reading has an impact on children’s educational performance. In fact, you may not be aware but it has a larger impact than a child’s background. Research showed that no matter a child’s social or economic background, if they read they did well in school. But without using tests and school as a parameter, evidence still showed that children who read for fun daily had a broader vocabulary, increased overall knowledge and gained better understanding of new subjects.
It’s an understatement to say that reading for kids, is of extreme importance!
Of the top of my head here are a few other reasons why reading to kids is important:
Reading lets a child’s imagination run wild. This has trickle down positive effects as they are able to use their imagination to overcome problems!
Reading a book means getting to know new characters deeply. That means storing lots of information about them, making you use the long term memory part of your brain. It’s not surprising book readers have the best memory then!
When reading the child needs to sit down and take time to read. It also helps the child to relax and practice mindful skills.
There’s plenty of other reasons, increased language development, bonding with your children, increases language fluency, the list goes on. Now more than ever, with numerous online resources, reading for kids is accessible to all.
Online reading for kids is convenient and most of the time a cheap or free resource. As now most books can be found as an e-source online. That means it’s a fantastic resource to educate your children with.
However, some children can have some hard time getting into reading. A once renowned bookworm might have gotten stuck and refuse to read.
There’s plenty of reading related activities and new ways to introduce reading to your children to keep it fresh:
1-Spice it up
Don’t just stick to story books, children are the worlds best scientist, they love to learn. Introduce some fun fact or non-fiction books, for example like Horrible Histories/Science, etc. Once you’ve found a topic your child is interested in use that to build upon the reading skills. All reading needs is a spark of a good book for your child to become a bookworm.
2-Build your own
There’s many ways to do this, either pick a topic or event and write and draw a book together. Or you can do one of my favorite activities as a kid! When me and my siblings were bored we would create a new story out loud (or in writing). This game is easy but endless fun! It starts with the first person writing a sentence down to start a new story, then they fold the piece of paper down so the next person can’t read what they wrote, only a few words. The other person then writes a line and does the same, the game goes on until you get to the end of the paper. Then you read the story out loud. It leads to a lot of laughter, and hours of endless fun!
Reading correlates with vocabulary, use these two skills by making a guessing game. Start by shouting “A” loudly and then saying the rest of the alphabet under your breath. Your child will say stop, the letter that you were thinking of is the letter they have to write words of. So if you were thinking of ‘L” they need to write down as many “L” words they can think of. If a letter is repeated, you can pick another. You can even try making a story together using all the words the child wrote down.
Make reading engaging and fun by asking your child lots of questions. Before turning the page ask them to imagine what will happen. You can even just provide your child with a page of a book and get them to think what the characters, story, etc, could be like. Let their imagination run wild.
Most importantly you need to be consistent with reading, just like any skill. By building it into your child’s routine it will become a well loved bonding time.
What if you are learning a second language, for example Chinese? This article refers to the results from scientific research to back up the argument that Chinese is not hard to learn for children.
Reading is essential when learning a second language, if your child is studying Chinese here are some books I recommend:
- 《宝触摸游戏书》-For younger children, these books contain textures as well as bright sceneries, so they are fun and engaging.
- 《宝宝的第一本书》-Also known as baby’s first book, it contains simple words that are similar, e.g. animals, seasons, etc. They are well illustrated and easy to read for beginners.
- 《猜猜我有多爱你》-‘Guess how much I love you” in Chinese. A well loved timeless story about parental love.
- 《安徒生童话选》-The well known Hans Christian Andersen tales that have spanned generations and multiple adaptations. Now you have your child read them in Chinese.
- 《格林童话选》-Just as famous as the tales above! The Grimm’s fairytales.
- 《丁丁历险记》-One of my favorites growing up, the Tintin books. Well illustrated and your child will be able to learn some interesting vocabulary.
If online reading for kids is more your style, then check out Lingo Bus! With classes you get access to numerous resources, flashcards, activities, and most importantly famous graded books. Each book in this large library has Chinese characters, pinyin and English. On top of this you can pick what format to use when reading, so if your child has a good grasp on their characters you can hide the pinyin! You can find out more or book an online demo class here!
I think it’s obvious to everyone that reading is a vital life skill that can often be forgotten. Books carry important messages and are the keystone of knowledge. Think about it when did human civilization have a big jump in development? When the printing press was invented and books could be easily shared. So take a few minutes out of each day to read with your child using some of the fun activities provided in this article.
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