Why Is It Important To Read To Kids? I’ll Give You 1,000 Reasons

For the past week or so, I haven’t been able to get a staggering statistic out of my head.

 Once upon a time, I was reading a book called How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life. It’s all about the manner in which language develops in young children, beginning in infancy and continuing through to their third year of life.
I bring up the book because it’s where I came across this staggering statistic, in the midst of a paragraph about how language develops across socioeconomic classes.

The authors of How Babies Talk wrote this:
“Studies show, on average, that children of professional parents receive between 1,000 and 1,700 of one-on-one reading time before they reach first grade. The same studies show that children from low-income families only receive 25 hours of one-on-one reading time before first grade. “
That’s a difference of up to 975 hours! I couldn’t believe the statistic to be true. It blew my mind. I think I read to both my girls for more than 25 hours last month, and that doesn’t count the hours her daddy read to her. Or the hours her grandma read to her. Or the… you get the point.

Reading to children at a young age is extremely important because it helps set them up for building vocabularies throughout their lives. The more words a child hears, the more she is likely learn to say, and the more she is likely to understand.

Not to mention that reading to my daughters before bed is helpful for us because it A) gives us some time to cuddle with them and B) gives them some time to calm down before we put them to sleep. Reading is part of our bedtime routine, and when we sit down in the rocking chair, pull them into our laps and choose a book, they knows it’s time to go to bed.

The authors of How Babies Talk wrote that the words a child learns as a toddler can be an indicator of future educational success. Give your child a head start. Read and talk to them for a sufficient period of time every day.

/Exit Soapbox.

**How Babies Talk was written by Drs. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek.

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