Reading to your children is a primary element in helping their development, in forming a close bond with them and directing them towards personal and academic growth. Reading to your children is a healthy habit that you are able to form from the time they are born; studies have shown that infants are soothed by the sound of their parent's voice. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "strongly recommends reading to children every day, starting after they are first born," because "reading stimulates the development of the brain, language and a closer emotional relationship with a child." As children develop, the reading process will become more interactive as they can follow along and begin asking questions for understanding.
Unfortunately many educators today are experiencing that children from various backgrounds are coming to school having never been read to before. It's not just children from lower income homes, but children from privileged homes as well who are spending more time in front of the television set, not interacting with their parents and siblings on a regular basis. Parents play a significant role in either encouraging or hindering child development.
Research has shown that children who are read to on a consistent basis are more likely to succeed academically. Children who are read to are able to form abstract concepts, they develop their imagination (rather than having the television do so for them), and build a broader vocabulary. So why is it then that many studies are showing that parents are spending less time reading to their children?
There can be a vast number of legitimate reasons why reading to your child can be difficult, primarily because finding the time together is hard. A few ideas might be to find a few stories on tape or CD and listen to them together while driving, to read while putting your child to bed- it's often helpful to read stories that you enjoy as well because you'll enjoy reading, or look into educational toys and interactive books. You might need to get creative to find time or ideas to read to your child with, but the benefits of doing so will last a lifetime.