The optimal reading age for children begins at six. However, this relates mainly to the way kids begin to understand complex language and writing skills. Before then, your kids' brain development focuses on other abilities such as cognitive function, motor skills, and other early stages of development. However, most experts agree that it's never too early to teach your kids to read because there are many additional benefits beyond stringing sentences together.
Helps Early Language Recognition
An obvious benefit of early reading is understanding language. From the moment they are aware of the world around them, children begin to take in language cues from everyone around them. The most common first word is "no" because you try to teach toddlers what not to do. But babies also need to understand the alphabet to read. So teaching children to read early on can be challenging. But 3 exercises for teaching the alphabetic principle include recognising the first letters of words, identifying sounds in words and letter swapping to form new words.
A Wonderful Way to Bond
Even into adolescence, reading is an excellent way to bond with your children. Kids love to be read to, and many preschools and primary schools actively hold daily reading sessions for children. Although there is only one book, you can read together. Reading like this helps for attachments and creates special moments that your kids will treasure forever. Additionally, before your child can even read, acting out their favourite stories with different voices helps them differentiate between characters, recognise emotional association and simply entertain.
Establishes a Bedtime Routine
Reading with or for your children is a privilege as a parent. Especially for working parents who don't get to spend as much time as they would like, putting the kids to bed is something you might look forward to. But as fun as a nighttime reading session can be, you can take advantage of the occasion to help establish a routine. Before they go to bed, your kids should have a bedtime routine. A bedtime routine helps kids wind down before going to sleep. As a result, this encourages your children to fall asleep on their own, getting the rest they need.
Teaches Some Valuable Life Lessons
Literature can become so ingrained in life that we don't even notice it. Take religious books, for example. Almost all of life's most important values, including laws, can be traced to the Holy Bible, the Koran or other religious texts. But modern fiction for children also comes with great life lessons they can use as they develop. Everybody Poops, for example, sounds like a funny book about, well, pooping. But the hidden message and context are much more clever in that it explains society's attitudes towards privacy, body image and social conventions needed for life.
Manages Specific Mental Disorders
Reading is fun and entertaining, and some books offer wisdom disguised as colourful stories. But the focus and active listening requirements of reading can help your children cope with specific mental disabilities such as autism and hyperlexia. For example, children with hyperlexia start reading earlier than usual, often alienating their peers. This causes frustration and typically comes with an obsession with letters and numbers from an early age. Your child's advanced reading abilities can be used to help them visualise using comic books, for example.
Helps to Understand Compound Words
Learning starts with reading and writing, and from an early age, we are taught these at school and into further education. But reading is the foundation of learning since we read to learn almost everything. However, your kids can have trouble with compound words made of multiple syllables. So, as your child gets older, reading early will be a massive help as they develop their language skills. Understanding compound words is also excellent for vocabulary, communication skills, and early brain development before preschool.
Increases Listening Skills
Written literature contains more vocabulary than speaking. So, conversely, reading helps your kids' listening skills develop. This is important because it will make it easier for them to pick out new or unrecognised words and analyse them in real-time when being spoken to. Improved listening skills are a major advantage when your children attend school since they will actively listen to what a teacher is saying. And if they hear words and vocabulary they aren't familiar with, they can identify them and ask their educator to explain anything they don't understand.
Encourages Natural Curiosity
Children are always learning, even when they don't realise. Learning extends far beyond the classroom, and reading is an excellent way to encourage your kids' natural curiosity. Like most kids, yours probably aren't too hard to please, and most children love a good book. Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson and J.K Rowling are among the most popular these days, with enduring classics. Yet as fun as these adventures are, curiosity helps your kids become more observant and analytical about the world around them, reading and writing more to make sense of events.
Enhances Creativity Skills
Your brain is made of two sides called hemispheres. The right side is considered more creative, and the left is more logical. For example, the right makes sense of artistic things and the left, more mathematical things. The formation and comprehension of language use both sides of the brain at the same time because logic is needed to understand words, and creativity is needed to write them. So by teaching your kids to read at a young age, you are helping develop creativity as much as language skills. And this can be used later in life with creative writing careers.
There are many ways to help kids with reading, such as colourful children's books, songs and rhymes and playing word games. Most of the benefits of advanced reading help with cerebral development, but they are also great fun. And the benefits can last a lifetime as well as help them through their early development. But some additional benefits can include creating a bonding experience, feeding their natural curiosity and enhancing their creative skills.