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10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Infant, Toddler, or Young Child

10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Infant, Toddler, or Young Child
Posted on January 1, 2016 by CHS

As a parent or caregiver, you want your child, or a child in your care, to be intelligent, competent, and a strong communicator. So how do you help him or her to become these things?

As early as infancy, you can begin teaching and giving your child many important skills through reading. Reading aloud is proven to be one of the most important activities to stimulate language skills and cognitive abilities in children.

Even if your own reading skills are not as developed as you’d like, or you’re exhausted from reading the same book your child asks for over and over, it’s important to keep reading to, and with, your child! Here’s why:

The Benefits of Reading to Children

1. Reading builds curiosity, memory, and a desire for knowledge. The more you read to your child, the more likely he is to succeed in school.

2. Spending time reading with your child on your lap or seated next to you is nurturing. It helps create a bond that strengthens your relationship and provides a sense of love and security.

3. Reading teaches children how to pronounce words and understand language. When children have a good grasp of linguistics early in life, they can perform better in topics such as math, science, and history.

4. As children observe how characters in books interact with each other and the world around them, it teaches them how to communicate with others in healthy ways.

5. Stories help children cope with change. For instance, if a child is nervous about starting school or moving to a new city, reading a book about a character that’s dealing with the same issue can help validate their concerns and teach them methods for managing fears.

6. Regularly reading with your child encourages her to value books and knowledge, increasing the likelihood that he will enjoy reading on his own in the future.

7. The imaginative nature of books inspires creativity by allowing children to contemplate a variety of fictional places and people that differ from their normal experiences.   

8. Having children sit still and listen to a book helps improve their attention span and focus.

9. Many children’s books teach life lessons, which will help them learn wrong from right, and socially acceptable behaviors.

10. Allowing children to interact with picture books is an opportunity to teach children about objects, colors, animals, sounds, and cultures within each story.

How to Get the Most out of Reading with Children

1. Read as often as possible. Try to set aside a daily time to read, such as right before bed.

2. Use books that have simple pictures and sentences with infants and toddlers. Books with words that repeat, rhyme, or that can be sung are usually favorites. Some authors that toddlers may enjoy reading are Eric Hill, Donald Crews, Denise Fleming, Eric Carle, and Dr. Seuss.

3. When you read, point out objects, animals, and colors to help teach them additional information beyond just the words in the book. As they develop, ask them questions about those things to help them with memory and critical thinking.

4. Encourage older siblings to read to their younger siblings to increase family bonding and shared knowledge.

5. Use voices and make sound effects for different characters and objects to further engage your child.

6. Keep books visible where they can be easily accessed, such as in a child’s room, on the coffee table, or a low shelf.

7. Take time to discuss what you’re reading, including when your child is old enough to read on her own. Ask her about what she’s learning and share something about your book to open up dialogue and ideas.

8. Making books with children is a wonderful way to teach them about the power, beauty, and value of language. You can staple pages together to make booklets or buy inexpensive blank journals. Children can draw, use photos, or cut out pictures from magazines to create pages for the books. Add these books to your book area and watch how much children enjoy reading them.

Some ideas of books you might make: story books, songbooks, family stories, favorite things, our neighborhood, cookbooks, science observation logs, vacations, nature journals, emotion journals, and plays.

If you live in the Oakland area, visit CHS’s “Story Time Hour” at the Oakland Family Resource Center where your child can enjoy hearing a new story with other children. To promote reading and provide books for children in need, visit the Words Matter Week website:

Additional Resources:

Booklists for children:

Poetry for children:

Magazines for children:

Growing Readers Newsletters for Parents:

Literacy Milestones:

Reading Tips:

Why Read Aloud?


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