Reading stories aloud to your kids can be very beneficial for their mental and emotional development – especially in conjunction with the Readmio app featured in this month’s issue of Brilliant Brainz magazine.
During story time, your kids have your undivided attention. That can mean the world to them. Meanwhile, you get to spend quiet time with them and enjoy their company without the usual distractions like domestic chores, work emails, text messages, and phone calls. That peaceful time together helps to strengthen the emotional bond you share.
As you read, you can all talk about what’s happening in the story and what might happen next. You can also use the lessons or themes in stories as a springboard for broader discussions.
That’s not all, of course. Numerous scientific studies have shown the positive impact reading at home has on children. For a start, it helps young kids to develop emotional intelligence, empathy and self-control. Exposure to new words helps them to expand their vocabulary.
The listening skills they develop from hearing you read will help their future academic success. For example, a 2008 study found that reading aloud to young children helps boost their literacy and language development and supports the relationship between parents and children.
It can also promote a love of reading, which can be more important than improving specific literacy skills. Loving reading can impact children’s future academic performance, no matter what economic circumstances they grew up in. A 2002 OECD report, for example, found reading enjoyment more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socioeconomic status.
Parents who demonstrate a positive attitude toward reading pass their passion on to their children. So show your kids how much you love reading. Take them into bookshops and join your public library (it’s free and offers an ever-changing supply of children’s books along with fun reading-based activities). Fill your home with books, kids’ magazines (like Brilliant Brainz), newspapers, and comics.
Let them see you reading (even if you only get to do it for a minute or two!). The more they learn to love reading, the more it will help them develop solid language and literacy skills. It will also help them to gain an understanding of the world. Furthermore, it will help them develop social skills and learn coping strategies.
A recent US study showed just how vital reading at home is to your kids’ brain development. The study found that listening to stories helps to activate the part of the brain that allows children to understand the meaning of language. The researchers attached brain scanners to 19 pre-schoolers as they listened to stories. They found a strong correlation between reading at home and brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language.
Don’t Stop Reading to Your Kids
It’s a mistake to assume that once kids reach primary school age, they don’t need stories to be read aloud to them. Even when your children start to read themselves, they benefit from being read to.
An international survey conducted by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found children whose parents reported that they had read a book with their child “every day or almost every day” or “once or twice a week” during the first year of primary school performed higher in PISA 2009 than children whose parents reported that they had done this “never or almost never” or “once or twice a month”. On average, across 14 countries that had collected information on this question, the difference was 25 score points, but it ranged from four score points in the partner country Lithuania to 63 score points in New Zealand.
Let Kids Choose Stories
Children love to choose their own stories. Studies have shown the book or story they choose is the one they’re likely to enjoy the most. It’s tempting to impose our choice on them because we enjoyed a specific book when we were young or consider it educational. It’s best, however, to let children choose a book or magazine for themselves. Likewise, don’t restrict your kids’ choices to books you deem more suitable for their age. If they want to hear a book aimed at three-year-olds, fine. Let them. Respect their choice.
If you want to encourage them to love reading, let them pick the story or book. You can boost the number of books your kids can choose from by joining your local library.
Brilliant Readmio App Augments Storytime For Kids
You can also use the Readmio app featured in the June issue (#45) of Brilliant Brainz. It makes the whole ‘let the kids choose the story’ so much easier because it offers over 200 stories with new ones added every week. So, your kids will have plenty of stories from which to choose. The stories include fairy tales, fables, folk tales, educational stories, myths, legends, and even ones designed to encourage your little ones to fall asleep.
Once you’ve clicked on the story you want, it opens on your screen. As you read the story aloud, the app automatically adds sounds and music to make things even more engaging. Start by reading Readmio’s free stories and if you and the kids love it, subscribe to access the 200-plus tales on offer.