Reading and storytime benefits of for toddlers

Emmy Samtani
Emmy Samtani
Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 4 mins read

Your little one’s development is very important to you, for obvious reasons, so helping them along is key. There are numerous ways to bond with them and teach them little skills in hidden ways. One of those includes storytime. Without them even realising it, you are showing them new ways to imagine and speak, and teaching them about the world. It might not always seem like an obvious tool for teaching, but it is integral to your child’s growth. From language development, to listening skills, to cognitive development, to fostering your child’s imagination – even just developing some background knowledge is invaluable.

Importance of storytime and reading in early years

Language skills: helps them learn basic terms and words

Ultimately, reading books is the quintessential way to increase vocabulary, especially someone who is learning. Books are full of new words and reading them out loud will introduce them to a whole new world. This is where the story time benefits for toddlers is so abundant, helping to develop language skills and early literacy skills that can’t be undervalued.

Critical thinking skills: matching words to pictures

Not only will they read the words but they can see in front of them what those words represent (that’s why picture books are so handy.) Having a cute drawing of a dog next to a sentence about puppies will help them associate words with things. Then they can take this into everyday life and notice similarities around them. It encourages a cognitive development in a wonderful way, helping them to make sense of the world, draw connections, and even kick in some problem solving skills. The benefits of reading to brain development aren’t even up for debate.

Social skills: builds vocabulary skills and interaction understanding

Sharing the book and time speaking will slowly reveal social interaction. It won’t be obvious at first but subliminal interactions will start to stick in their brains. Take turns reading with your partner and show them what it looks like to share books. This inevitably assists their understanding of the world. That’s why reading is prefect for social and emotional development. Reading aloud will also lead to some very excitable mimicking! Your little one wants to follow your lead and using their voices to show you is their first step. Learning sounds is fundamental to their language development. Reading stories about others, beyond their own lives, also helps develop empathy in young kids, a beautiful skill for your child’s life (and much needed as they head into formal education and need to make friends!)

Relationships: hello bonding time!

One of the most obvious benefits! Storytime is an uninterrupted moment without screen distractions. Here you can both focus on speaking, singing, rhyming, and cuddling. Holding them close while teaching them how to begin communicating is a loving activity. Reading aloud together could build a lovely rhythm that slowly but surely builds a stronger relationship between you two. Having a booked-in date to spend time together is so special. Just another feel good moment to add into the benefits of reading.

How to start storytime

With so many benefits of reading, it’s a must for your child’s development. And luckily, there is no strict schedule or place this has to happen; you can have storytime anywhere! You don’t always need a book either. Tell them tales about your culture, family, and childhood. If you want to pick a book, find a picture book, ebook, magazines, anything with words and photos. Find some with plenty of nursery rhymes and repetition because those are key to success and entertainment in child development. Other than that, some good tips include:

  • Make it into a routine – read at least one book every day and remind them of it at a certain time
  • Buy a comfy reading chair for you both to enjoy or cuddle up in bed together. It makes telling stories even more cozy and memorable.
  • Bring out your inner child by making different voices, sounds and funny faces – get interactive! Reading aloud can be a ton of fun, if you let it. Make it into an enjoyable activity for them.

One of the most memorable tokens of childhood is that goodnight book you remember your mum or dad reading to you. The flashbacks of those nights spent repeating that comforting story will be a great gift to give to your little one and to yourself too. If you’re in luck, your child enjoys it so much that before you know it, they’re independent reading. Going to the local library to borrow books, piling up chapter books over the school holidays, and discovering a lifelong love with reading. That way, those cognitive development perks go on through school, and into their grown up life too.

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