Education Matters

Why it’s important to read to your child every night

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Feb 14, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Why it’s important to read to your child every nightWhat happens in the first few years of a child’s life forms the foundations for the rest of his life. The early years of child development are a time where experiences irreversibly affect how the brain develops. Nurturing from a parent or a caregiver during this time supports healthy brain development and sets children up for success in school and in life.

One of the best ways to achieve this and to engage with a child is through reading books together – especially reading aloud. We’ve uncovered a few reasons why it’s important to read to your child every night.

1. It expands his vocabulary
A boy’s auditory comprehension is higher than his reading comprehension, which makes reading aloud an effective way to grow his vocabulary. When you choose a book that your son cannot read on his own, you are exposing him to a variety of new words.

Reading aloud stretches a boy’s language development, especially when you stop and have a conversation about the meaning of challenging words.

When reading aloud, ask questions such as:

  • Did you learn any new words so far?
  • What do you think this word means?
  • Do any of these words confuse you?

2. It teaches empathy
Literature is an effective way to help children understand concepts without experiencing them themselves. Through various genres and literary techniques, reading aloud builds a child’s understanding of people and the world around them.

Literature also provides a safe way to explore strong emotions. Reading a story that explores certain emotions and feelings can help a boy to understand his own emotions and feelings and recognise how others feel. Stories can help boys feel more comfortable discussing their emotions with others.

When reading aloud, ask questions such as:

  • If you were that character, what would you have done differently in that situation?
  • Who was your favourite character and why?
  • Did the ending of the story make you feel happy/sad? Why is that?

3. It improves his long-term reading success
Reading aloud daily to a boy is important for his reading and overall academic success. In their study, Bredekamp, Copple and Neuman suggest, “Reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development. It is the single most important activity for reading success.”

Boys who are well-read early on, develop good vocabulary, write well and achieve better results in school. If a reading habit isn’t developed in the early years, this can cause difficulty later on.

When reading aloud, ask questions such as:

  • What was the most interesting thing you learned from the book?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this book?
  • Was the problem of the book’s plot solved?
  • Does this remind you of another book you’ve read?

4. It models reading language
When you read to your son, you are teaching him how to read language. Your tone changes when you read a question, or when there is an exclamation; you pause when there is a comma or a full stop. This can only be understood when you are vocalising these words and phrases.

Reading aloud teaches your son to understand expression, pick up on sound and gives him the opportunity to practise listening.

When reading aloud, ask questions such as:

  • Why did that character say this?
  • What do you think he meant when he said…?
  • Why do you think she was yelling in the end?

While we recognise the importance of reading to your child from a young age, reading should continue beyond the early years. Read our blog on why Reading is important for boys of all ages. Even once children become capable of reading independently, it is important to continue reading aloud to them. Although more than half of all surveyed children aged zero to five were read aloud to at home, five to seven days a week, research conducted by Scholastic Australia found that this frequency decreased with age. Reading aloud to children of all ages, even teenagers, can have a profound impact on literacy skills and assists in developing a love of reading. You may also be interested in learning from our blog: How to improve your son’s literacy.

Trinity Grammar School encourages your son to realise his potential, pursue his passions and discover his purpose all within the context of a supportive Christian environment. We have guided boys to grow in mind, body and spirit for over a century and we know what boys need to truly flourish and succeed.

At Trinity, we recognise the importance of making a good beginning. The myriad of opportunities provided in Kindergarten, the first year of formal schooling, lay the foundations for all future learning.

The International Baccalaureate Organisation’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), Trinity Grammar School’s chosen Primary curriculum framework meets the academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural needs of each child. Within this framework, from the beginning of your son’s education, proficiency in Literacy and Numeracy is fundamental and intrinsic to learning. Skills are introduced systematically and deliberately, based upon the individual development of each child.

To find out why we’re one of Sydney’s leading schools for boys and to learn more about Trinity Grammar School’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), download our PYP brochure.

PYP brochure download

Topics: Literacy, Early years, Reading, Raising boys, Boys learning, Boys and literacy, Early learning