Research continues to support that reading benefits children of all ages in a variety of ways. According to studies, reading helps build your child’s vocabulary, helps develop his imagination, and increases his ability to communicate. In fact, there is a direct relationship between how many words an infant hears in a day and his language skills, even his IQ. That being said, reading is crucial in exposing your baby or young child to a variety of words.
The images and colors in children picture books and illustrated books also stimulate the imagination. This is part of the reason why I spent a whole year interviewing illustrators after writing the first book in my series, Danny the Dragon—I knew from reading to my own children just how much children appreciate art in children’s literature.
Not only is reading a great way to build language skills and imagination, but it’s an important way to teach values that will be relevant to your children for the rest of their lives. The themes and lessons in your child’s books are readily absorbed by your child’s hungry mind.
So how early should you start reading to your child? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should be reading to their babies by the age of six months, or around the time he starts to enjoy looking at those books you’ve collected for him. Some experts say that you can start when your child’s a newborn.
At first it may seem like a daunting task, but pretty soon you’ll be enjoying regular story time with your child, and you’ll also enjoy seeing the benefits of it—a bright child with a healthy imagination and an understanding of the important values in life.