The Benefits of Reading to Young Children

Written by Emma Kerr
Early Childhood and Elementary School Librarian

The benefits of reading to young children are wide and varied.  As well as supporting literacy development, reading to children opens up a world of beauty and possibility in the pages of each book a child discovers. Here are some of the many reasons why this activity is so powerful and meaningful to young children.

Elementary School Librarian Reading to Young Children

Language Development

Reading aloud exposes children to a rich vocabulary and helps them develop language skills. Exposure to varied words and sentence structures contributes to their overall language development.

Cognitive Development

Reading promotes cognitive development by stimulating the brain and fostering critical thinking skills. It encourages children to make connections between the story and their own experiences, enhancing their understanding of the world.

Building a Love for Reading

Reading together fosters a positive attitude toward books and reading. When children associate reading with enjoyment, they are more likely to become lifelong readers. School librarians play a crucial role in recommending age-appropriate and engaging books to cultivate this love for reading.  

Recently some of our oldest students in Grade 12 read with our Kindergarten and Grade 1 students.  Reading together fosters a sense of camaraderie and collaboration between students of different ages. It promotes positive peer relationships and creates a supportive learning community.  In addition, older students develop empathy by understanding the challenges younger students may face in their learning journey. This fosters a supportive and empathetic school community.  Older students can serve as positive reading role models for younger students. When they engage together in this wonderful, collaborative reading experience, it demonstrates the importance of literacy and education

Early Childhood Teaching reading to Early Childhood students

Enhancing Concentration and Focus

Regular reading sessions help children develop the ability to concentrate and focus on a task. This skill increases cognitive stamina, is essential for academic success, and is transferable to various aspects of life.

Bonding Time

Reading together provides an opportunity for parents, caregivers, and children to bond. It creates a positive and nurturing environment that supports emotional development and strengthens the adult-child relationship.

Cultural Awareness

Books expose children to different cultures, perspectives, and experiences, fostering empathy and an appreciation for diversity. This is important for the development of social and emotional intelligence.  Last year, we were able to invite our BFIS G.S.A. to the library to read with our Grade 3 students.  This positive reading experience gave us an opportunity to share perspectives and ideas with our peers.

Mom reading out loud to her daugther

Enhancing Imagination and Creativity

Reading stimulates a child’s imagination and creativity. Exposure to different stories and characters encourages them to think creatively and develop their own ideas.

Librarians in schools often play a vital role in promoting literacy by curating diverse and engaging book collections, reading regularly with elementary students, and collaborating with teachers and parents to create a literacy-rich environment for children. Parents and caregivers at home can complement these efforts by incorporating reading into daily routines and fostering a life-long love of literature.

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12 Books about Honesty and Reflection for Elementary Students

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