Does Shared Reading In Childhood Affect Reading Appetite In Adulthood?
Reading is a fundamental part of childhood. Yet, many parents find it hard to get their kids to sit down and read. It is an important part of the child’s development. In fact, early childhood educators suggest building a reading habit in the child’s early years, especially in the first five years of life! Studies show that when children develop a reading appetite in their childhood, they will bring this reading habit with them for the rest of their life!
Regular reading during the child’s early years puts the child ahead of his/her peers. When the child reads, he/she also develops his/her cognition, problem-solving, and critical thinking, and widens the vocabulary that prepares the child for big school.
Child development studies show that the parent’s behaviour during the child’s early years greatly affects the child’s outcome in life. Children who are exposed to books and shared reading early in their childhood are more likely to become readers when they grow up. Moreover, children who have established a love for reading are better equipped to start school. These children easily catch up with the lessons, have an appetite for learning, and can easily understand lessons in school.
A study conducted by Seden in 2008 found that in families with low-income and stressed-out parents, reading children’s books to their children has been found to foster strong parent-child connections by boosting parents’ capacities to attend to their child’s needs and sympathize more fully with their child. Shared reading is beneficial for the child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. The child’s socio-emotional development and communication skills are also developed during shared reading between the parent and the child.
Parents have a special way of bridging the child’s world and the world of books (Bus, 2003). Children are inclined to read because of the emotional attachment that they feel with the reader (parent) during shared reading. Research also shows that shared reading improves the emotional relationship between the parent and the child (Bus and van Ijzendoorn, 1997; Lariviere and Rennick, 2011; Blumberg and Griffin, 2013).
A study by the University of Melbourne found that the frequency of reading with children in their early years has a direct effect on their school outcomes. Shared reading to children by parents improves their reading and other cognitive abilities, at least up to the age of 10 to 11.
The goal is to get the child to fall in love with reading early, but, how?
Although shared reading may feel natural for some families, for others, it’s not always that easy. The first step to building a love for reading is to choose the right book that your child will fall in love with. A study conducted by the National Literacy Trust found that books with personalised elements increase reading comprehension by 40%! In the same study, it was also found that children pay more attention to shared reading when reading personalised books vs non-personalised books.
The reason is that children are more engaged in reading books that have a direct sense of personal relevance to them. Ownership of the text (the kind that only a personalised book gives) is an important step in perceiving oneself as a reader (Dymore and Griffiths, 2010).
Shared reading in early childhood has a direct effect on the child’s reading appetite in his/her teenage and adulthood years. Reading is a form of early childhood intervention that positively affects the child throughout his life. When the child gets into the habit of reading early, he will carry it with him forever.
The habit of reading does not only equip the child for school, it improves the overall knowledge, understanding, and cognition of the person that gets him set for life. It is scientifically proven that reading improves a person’s life chances, and longevity, and greatly contributes to success!