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Why is reading aloud to kids so important?

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One of the greatest head starts in life is free and can take as few as five or ten minutes each day. In children, however, the rewards of the investment are profound. What’s the secret? To read to children early and often. 

Why Reading Matters
According to the International Reading Association and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), reading aloud to children supports language and literacy development, builds knowledge, instills a desire to learn, and often cultivates more successful readers.

The benefits of reading are vast. Reading aloud:

  • presents books as valuable resources
  • motivates children to read on their own
  • expands a child’s vocabulary
  • introduces children to descriptive, written language
  • encourages imagination and thoughtful exploration
  • supports discussions that build thinking skills
  • provides valuable, distraction-free interactions with kids

Start Early, Talk Often
Reading is beneficial in your child’s earliest years. Not only will the time together encourage a warm relationship between you and your baby, infants enjoy hearing the sounds, rhythms and words from a familiar voice. As they mature, babies will hear more, learn more and say more. Many parents integrate reading into the evening routine.

As children grow, reading can fuel insightful conversations. Talk about what you’re reading before, during and after to help children connect what they’re hearing to their own lives. Read for as long as your child can remain attentive and savor these moments. It’s surprising how quickly an inquisitive toddler turns into a teen.

Choose Books that Fit
Infants enjoy simple board books with bright colors, simple words and pictures. Older babies relish taking part in reading by pulling on flaps, touching textures and poking fingers in holes. Toddlers enjoy books with simple plots and limited language, but they are very curious. So read books about new places, people and events.

By the time children reach school age, simple books can give way to longer reads or chapter books that stretch over a few reading sessions. Before you know it, your child will be reading alone. Keep the conversation going with your growing reader by discussing what they read, what they think might happen next, or how they might react to fictional or real scenarios they encounter in their reading.

Learn more about child development at
ABC Quality is the state’s quality rating system for child care. ABC Quality is administered by the Division of Early Care and Education of the SC Department of Social Services. is a resource for South Carolina parents. Tap into important child care and development information that helps even the youngest South Carolinians thrive. Search for a child care provider or learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system.

ABC Quality is all about building a brighter South Carolina — one child at a time.

By ABC Quality Team on October 7, 2016