by Eliana H.
When was the last time you read a book to a young child? Maybe it was a title you’ve read dozens of times, and the child was even saying some of the words along with you. You might be hoping they will get excited about something different soon. Perhaps it was a book you hadn’t read before, and you enjoyed discovering it along with them. Either way, you were helping that child’s brain develop just by reading to them.
We all want our children to be successful. While there may be a range of opinions on what that looks like and which tools are most helpful to support said success, research provides a few clear answers. One of those is that reading with children, from birth onward, sets them up for academic and later life success. Numerous studies have shown that reading with children from early in life encourages language development, as well as overall brain development. Children who are read to every day during their early childhood may enter Kindergarten having been exposed to over one million more words than their peers who were never read to. This increased vocabulary sets up those from a literacy-rich home for success from the start of their school careers.
Thankfully, you can find plenty of high-quality children’s books to borrow for free at any of our HCLS branches. If you bring a young child to one of our classes, you can even get a break from being the reader! Feel free to ask any of our staff for recommendations for books to read with your children. And don’t be afraid to let little ones choose some for themselves. For more suggested activities and materials to help children develop literacy skills, check out one of our Literacy Activity Kits. Or perhaps select a toy to borrow and act out a story you’ve read or created on your own. Whatever books or materials you select, read early and often with young children to set them up for success in school and beyond.
Eliana is a Children’s Research Specialist and Instructor at HCLS Elkridge Branch. She loves reading, even if she’s slow at it, and especially enjoys helping people find books that make them light up. She also loves being outside and spending time with friends and family (when it’s safe).