Did you know that reading to your baby as little as 15 minutes a day can actually boost your child’s intelligence? This is exactly what the research reflects. Not only do daily bedtime stories help make our little ones smarter, but they are also an incredible opportunity to reconnect and build our relationship with our children.
Best-selling children’s author, Mem Fox, believes “the fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading…It is the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.” Such is the magic of reading fabulous books aloud. And let’s face it, what could be more magical, than snuggled up close, going on adventures to far away places, all tucked up and wide-eyed?
One of our highest priorities, as parents, is surely to instill a love of learning in our children. Skillful reading aloud does that. The more expressive we read, the more memorable and exciting the experience will be. The more our kids love books, the more they’ll be inclined to pick them up and explore them, pretend to read them even. The more they pretend, the quicker they learn to read. The moment they read, a world of learning is opened up to them.
In many ways, an expressive story time can seem very musical to a baby. The lilt of your voice, and the use of pauses for emphasis can almost sound like a song. It is quite memorable to young children when you read a book exactly the same way each time. Just like a simple tune can make things easier to remember, books with rhyme and metre will actually build the skill of memory and recognition, as young children pick up the ‘tune of the words’, to use a term coined by Mem Fox.
Of course animated reading aloud can be quite stimulating to a baby. You know the types of stories I mean – those that require lots of facial expressions, voices and crazy actions. These stories are best read during active wake time. However, there are many quiet, soothing books, some that even reference sleep and dreams, that are fantastic for adding to that special time right before bed.
As you pay attention to the magical details of each individual word, you create a world of enchantment. You reveal hidden meaning, characters come alive, words leap off the page, and your young one’s mind is growing and learning all the while. They are having fun and loving time with this expressive, amusing mummy. So let’s bring back the whimsical art of reading aloud to our children.
To learn more about reading aloud, check out Mem Fox’s book: “Reading Magic”