Just keep reading!

By Cassie Hart, Editor - Kids in Perth 30 Jul 2021

Dad-reading-to-son

Do you read your child a bedtime story every night?  At what age do you think you’ll stop doing so?  Usually once a kid becomes capable of reading books on their own ‘bedtime reading’ becomes a solo task.  On average around 52% of parents with a child aged 0-8 years old reads aloud to them at least five days a week.*  The number drops to 21% for parents with kids aged 9-11 and down to 7% for children aged 12-14.

But, just because older kids don’t need mum or dad to read to them anymore it doesn’t mean they don’t want us to.   In Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report, 83% of children aged 6-14 years old said they liked being read to aloud.  So why do we stop?

Girl-reading-on-chair

Reading specialist Judy Santilli Packhem believes there are amazing benefits in continuing to read aloud to older children:

Improve vocabulary

Children are able to understand more words when they listen to them rather than read them.  By reading aloud to your child they are able to enjoy books that are written above their reading level.

Increase attention span

When listening to a story, a child’s attention is sustained as they navigate plots, visualise situations and processes meanings. Reading aloud to them regularly can help improve their overall attention span.

Deal with difficult issues

As our kids get older they have to navigate some difficult situations such as bullying and friendship issues.  By selecting books that address issues that your child may be facing, it creates an opportunity to have a conversation with them about how they are feeling.

Develop empathy

By reading about and understanding the thoughts and feelings of a character in a book, a child can become more aware of other people’s emotions and perspectives.

As well as the developmental benefits, reading with your child can help improve your relationship.  It’s a special one-on-one moment that they can look forward to each night, and they will likely cherish the memories later in life.  If you’ve stopped reading aloud to your older child, try asking them if they would like start reading together again.  You may be surprised how much they have missed it.

* According to the Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report

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