Children’s books are very diverse. There are titles that provide information about the world around the child; other books present situations the child may experience, another sub-genre also depict their feelings and problems with some providing tips on how to solve these problems. Some books even talk about death or the other about the world. Lastly, they also depict the cultures and traditions in the child’s country or cultural diversity.
Each of these sub-genres or books carry specific meanings and perspectives which adults know and understand. For the child, these are new to them and something they must learn. This is why being exposed at an early age will let them know and be prepared for these issues. Furthermore, for the child to fully enjoy reading, he/she must be able to decipher the meaning and not just read the text. Exposure to literature will definitely benefit the child in the future. Books have a specific impact for the child’s learning in a number of ways.
Reading Prepares the Child to see
In the infancy stage, the child learns to “read” his parent’s faces. He memorizes how they look like and how they sound like. Once he is oriented, he beings to understand certain patterns in their facial expressions and is able to respond appropriately. Then he begins to take note of his surrounding objects both physical and in books. He develops an understanding that pictures in books are just visual representations and not real objects.
To help further his reading skill, this requires a lot of picture books and exposure from his parents. It is important to note that during the early stages of reading, the child places himself within the book and gets easily affected. As he continuously reads and gets more exposure, he learns to distance himself from the pictures and understands them for what they mean.
Reading Prepares the Child to listen
The child’s development includes his familiarization of the sounds around him. This includes his parent’s voice, which sounds are good, and which sounds are to be avoided. As his parents read to him stories or sing lullabies, this is easily ingrained into his memory and childhood. Listening to stories also motivates him to read as soon as he is able to. He understands that some stories are happy, some are sad, and others convey a mixture of these emotions.
Learning to Read is Learning to Communicate
Listening to stories and reading together a book shows the child what they can do with those stories. At first it solely involves the child receiving ideas and interpreting them by himself. Once he meets fellow playmates and other people, he then tries to communicate. It can be something simple like pointing to objects to direct attention or trying to tell ideas by himself. This need to communicate grows and spurs the child to develop various communication skills to get his ideas across accurately. Growing needs for communication also shows that the child is already aware of other persons around him.
Through reading, the child is able to expand their vocabulary and writing skills easily. This is mainly due to learning new words and expressions when they read. In addition, they also become familiar with sentence structure and using appropriate words or language effectively.
Books Invoke a Sense of Organization
When a child receives or touches a book first, they are unable to understand how it is used. They may throw it, bite it, or damage it. As they are continuously exposed to this object, they begin to understand how this is properly used. They learn to look at pictures from left to right (or right to left in some cultures) and how to turn a page correctly. Before they begin to understand the deeper meaning in the texts, they become aware how books are used properly. On a higher purpose, they also understand that some objects are meant to be used in a specific way. Additionally, they also develop an appreciation that pictures or ideas are supposed to be presented in a specific manner to facilitate understanding.
Early development of their reading skill also fosters discipline. In their early stages, children have very limited attention span, especially when it comes to books. Using books, they are able focus their attention and energy on a single object for the entire duration of the book. When they develop, they’ll have a firmer self-discipline and an extended attention span than their peers.
Books Develop Complex Thinking
Starting from recognizing basic shapes, colors and patterns to deeper ideas, books invoke a lot of growth in children’s (and adult’s) thinking. At first, children are only able to tell which shape is which and what color they’re made of. As they continue to read and develop this skill, they begin to understand the basic story plot on a superficial level. Subsequently, they will also begin to think like the characters and try to make connections.
Trying to create logical connections stimulates and exercises complex thinking. The more frequent children do this, the easier it becomes. In academic and practical applications, children who often read will find it easier to solve problems. The same can be said for adults also.
Books Create an Emotional Bond
Reading a book with your child on a regular basis creates a long-lasting emotional bond. The child will equate these moments with quality time. You can also use this time to provide examples of everyday situations related to the story which the child may encounter. As the child grows up, he’ll be able to understand these situations and prepare for them appropriately.
Books Become Entertaining for Them
Constant exposure to reading as a hobby and pastime for children makes books as their main source of entertainment. Instead of frequently watching TV or playing computer games, they’ll be more inclined to spend time and read books.
A lot of parents complain that their child always plays computer games or go online most part of the day. This is because their children never understood the benefits of reading and they didn’t find out the joy of reading by themselves. They also never got to appreciate the fact that books are easy to bring along and they can find a lot of times to read books instead of relying on technology solely for entertainment.
Books Stimulate Curiosity
Since books provide knowledge and experiences beyond what the child experiences, he becomes more interested in other people’s experiences, cultures and even stories out of this world. This stimulates their natural curiosity and their desire to know more. Even if there is no prodding from the parents, the child naturally seeks out new information from other sources.
Books are an indispensable developmental tool for children in all aspects. In addition, it provides a common enjoyable pastime for parents and children. With the wide variety of children’s books out there, they are able to find something they appreciate or are appropriate for their developmental level and go from there.