3 Crucial Skills You Teach Your Kids Through Reading
Did you know that reading for 20 minutes a day can give your child a “competitive edge” in the classroom?
Research shows that with 20 minutes a day of reading (or being read to), children will hear an average of 1.8 million words per year. If less than a half hour can do that, imagine what else you could teach your kids through reading.
Not only is building literacy skills important to a child’s success, but it can also teach kids some important life skills.
Books provide an opportunity for kids to learn about people, places, cultures, activities and other things different from what they’re experiencing in their current environment. Reading stories about others allows them to gain a new perspective, without having to plan a trip or experience something firsthand.
In fact, research from The New School in New York City found that reading fiction improves the reader’s ability to understand what others are thinking and feeling. So, any fiction? Some, but literary fiction – the types of stories that focus on real-life situations, like grief or mental health – help your child better understand these types of situations.
Stories can show kids new possibilities and areas to explore. That could be a new career idea, a place they can travel, the food they can eat or even different ways to react to things that are happening in their lives.
Additionally, activities like choosing their own book, reading aloud and problem-solving while reading can help children develop agency which leads to self-confidence. Encourage their development by asking questions about characters in the book, like “what should they do next?” or “why do you think they did that?”
Reading a book with children promotes shared time together – but it also requires a fair amount of concentration and discipline to sit still. The ability to focus is something that will be carried throughout life, including their schooling.
Child a little antsy? Try a book that encourages touch and feel. Including some of your major senses – visual, auditory and touch – engages your child in the act of reading, rather than simply hearing the words.
With more than 1 in 3 American children starting kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read, encouraging reading in your home will give your child a leg up. The more words kids read and hear, the more opportunities they have to expand their vocabulary, learn life skills, and be set up for long-term success.
Take Action Now:
- Share this on your social media channels. “#DYK you can teach kids more than words when you read to them? Check out these 3 life skills your child can learn from reading.”
- Summer’s a couple of months away but our reading lists work all year long!
- Learn how United Way is addressing the need for early childhood education.
Alexandra Council is a proud Mizzou alumna, editor and St. Louis native who enjoys correcting grammar for fun. Besides pinpointing misplaced commas, she believes in hardcover books over Kindles and won’t turn down a good Netflix recommendation.