Books have a way of taking us to faraway lands, introducing us to new friends, and helping us see the world in a new light. Whether you're two years old or 100 years old, books bring magic to everyday life that you can’t get anywhere else.
But are books just about fun, exciting stories, or do they serve a deeper purpose? Keep reading to learn the benefits of reading, when to start reading to kids, and how to start a reading routine. Plus, we’ll cover creative ways to keep kids interested in reading with Kinoo.
What Are the Benefits of Reading to Kids?
When you snuggle up with your little one for a bedtime story, or spend time reading with them on Kinoo, are they getting anything beyond quality time with you?
Of course, quality time with loved ones is invaluable, but there are many other things your child is getting as well. Reading stories to young children creates a positive association with learning while also contributing to critical brain development.
When you read to kids, you help develop their critical language skills, no matter how young they are. The more babies and toddlers hear us read a wide range of vocabulary words and sounds from a young age, the easier it is for them to start to form their own words and sentences.
The more you read to your child, the more their language will develop. Toddlers and preschoolers rely on these lessons to build longer and more complex sentences.
With clear language skills come effective communication skills. As your little one builds their vocabulary through reading, they are better equipped to communicate their needs while still young. The background knowledge gathered from literature helps children “read between the lines,” aiding their understanding of complex social situations and the actions of others.
Communication is about more than what one can say. It's also about listening. When little ones know more words, they're better able to understand what others are saying to them. Such social skills will aid them in school, in the workplace, and in important relationships.
Reading also provides examples of dialog within stories, which can help little ones understand the nuances of different conversations. When your little one starts communicating more effectively, you can engage with them on a whole new level, creating an even stronger bond.
The abilities to think, reason, understand, and grasp cause and effect are part of cognitive development. Reading is one way to develop these skills.
Reading is key to academic success, and not only in the language arts. Reading skills translate to problem-solving abilities that translate to success in STEM fields.
By six or seven, your child will start to work on their independent reading skills. What an exciting time! When your little one can read independently, a whole new world opens up. Older kids can begin reading signs on the road, reading books to younger siblings, and even reading on their own.
Imagine their pride when your little one pulls out a children’s book and asks to read to you for a change!
Learning to read doesn’t happen overnight. Language development starts at birth. The more you read to your child from an early age, the more words they'll hear, and they'll be able to connect the dots when it comes to reading words on their own. A child’s brain grows quickly and is always hungry for more.
Love of Reading
Learning to read is like working a muscle. The more your child exercises that part of their brain, the more they'll be comfortable with reading, and being comfortable may just help them develop a love for reading.
When a child starts to get lost in the pages of a story — cheering on the main character or learning something new about a different place — reading becomes more of a hobby and less of a chore.
Create a Bond With Loved Ones
There are many ways kids can build bonds with their grown-up family members, but one of the best ways is to share a fantastic book. With Kinoo, family members can hop on a video call and read together even if they don't live near each other.
On their next video call, Grandma or Grandpa can pick a book or let your little one choose their favorite. Through the magic of video, you can both see the pages and follow along. Creating moments like these with reading builds strong connections, no matter the distance.
When Should You Start Reading to Kids?
Is there a perfect time to start reading to kids?
While there isn’t a set age, the goal is to start reading to kids as early and as often as possible. It's never too early to start reading to them; start making it a fun part of your daily or weekly routine.
How Do You Start a Reading Routine?
If you haven’t started a daily routine of reading, we have a few easy tips to help you get started. If you read five books with your child every day before entering kindergarten, your reader will hear over one million more words than their peers who aren’t exposed to books.
While reading five books every day may be difficult to fit into everyone’s schedules, just like babies, we must learn to crawl before we run.
When thinking about a daily reading routine, it's best to start when your little one is very small. Starting a routine early in life will make it a regular part of their day.
Often, parents — a child’s primary providers — are busy working or preparing meals, which is why it can be a huge advantage when parents can rely heavily on grandparents to meet childcare needs. So, what are parents to do when grandparents don’t live nearby?
Use Technology to Your Advantage
New technology, like Kinoo, can help out by replacing ordinary video calls.
Children’s imaginations are infinite, but their attention spans are not. Young kids may struggle to sit and read independently, and parents may not always have time to read “just one more” story every day. With Kinoo, long-distance relatives can help out, suggesting books and reading to or listening to their far-away young loved one read to them.
Using Kinoo, children can also learn to read while playing with far-away loved ones. In Kinoo’s pizza activity, try using the whipped cream to write letters and ask your little one to tell you their names and the sounds that they make. Or lay out ingredients like pineapple or pickles to create letter forms.
You can also encourage the child to use the magical Kinoo wand to draw letters in the air for you to guess. The Kinoo app sparks imagination and encourages incredible conversations by suggesting questions and conversation-starters geared to engage kids and build specific child development and language skills through in-app prompts.
Set a Reading Time
Reading can happen at any time of the day. Some families enjoy reading while eating breakfast or lunch, while others prefer bedtime. Develop your routine around the times when reading makes sense for your family.
You can always pick up a book and have a spontaneous read-along, but designating one or two times during the day as reading times can help you to be as consistent as possible.
Create a Special Reading Spot
If you're struggling with distractions while reading, create a place in your home that's a special reading spot. This area can be as simple or as extravagant as you like. The only two requirements are books and comfortable seating.
When designing your reading spot, you can place the books on a bookshelf, in a basket, or in a cardboard box. You can have your child decorate their book box to give them ownership of the area. For comfort, you can add a cozy chair or pillows and blankets. Create a comfortable spot for your little one to encourage their love of reading.
If you are reading a book over a video call, you can make each of your separate reading corners extra special with small touches like a matching pillow and blanket or personal artwork, which little ones will love. Little things like these can help bring families together, even when you are worlds apart.
Model Your Love for Reading
Children are always watching what the adults in their lives are doing. If we tell children that reading is important, but they never see us pick up a book, they may not be as willing to pick up a book themselves.
When you're setting up a reading routine for your little one, don't forget about yourself! Set reading time aside for you, and let your little one see how important and exciting reading can be.
What Are Ways To Keep Kids Interested in Reading?
Kids have a way of being excited about something one minute and over it the next. They may be no different when it comes to reading, so it’s essential to keep reading fresh and exciting for them. If reading time in your house is not as enjoyable as it used to be, try some of these tricks to bring back the joy.
Let Kids Pick Their Books
Reading slumps can be caused by many issues, but one of the main culprits is a lack of variety in your kid’s library. Re-reading the same books can be helpful because of the repetition of key vocabulary words, but sometimes you just need to switch it up to keep them interested.
If your child is old enough to pick out their own books, involve them in the book choices. Whether you buy your books or check them out at the library, let your little one have a say. If you have a lot of board books, they may be ready for longer picture books. Empowering kids to make their own book choices can help bring back the excitement of reading.
In the very near future, you won’t need regular library trips when you have the Kinoo app. Kinoo is currently developing in-app books based on specific interests and tailored to each child’s reading level that older and younger loved ones can read and interact with together in a Kinoo video call. Your younger family members will be able to access anything that sparks their interest with a simple click.
Introduce Different Genres
As your kids grow, their taste in books is likely to shift and change. To find what interests them, introduce a variety of genres to your family library to provide your child with a wide range of choices. There are so many books on the market for kids that it won’t be difficult to find something they will love.
Mixing up the types of books you have can keep things interesting (don't forget to include non-fiction as well to add different types of learning).
Read With Family
If you're the only one reading with your little one, your routine can become a little… routine. It’s not that you don't have the best character voices, but sometimes, kids just need to be read to by someone else for a little variety.
With Kinoo, you can involve your child’s loved ones in storytime, even if they live far away. Over Kinoo’s video chat, families can read a book together and talk about what they liked about the book, what they might change, and other elements that add to understanding the story.
Reading to children is an engaging way to interact. Kinoo helps strengthen family relationships and reading comprehension by encouraging unique conversation with inspiration that guides a family through fun tips, thought-starters, and questions that are relevant to a child’s life.
Read the Book and Watch the Movie
There are so many amazing kids’ movies that started out as books. For a fun twist on your next movie night at home, pick one of these movies, but read the book first.
Then, you can compare the movie and the book and see which you both liked better. Talk about what you imagined the characters would look like and whether the actors looked on the screen in the way you pictured.
Act It Out or Draw It Out
Sometimes you just need to take the story out of the book. Next time you read with your child, find ways to act the story out. If your little one likes to perform, see if your mini-star can pretend to be the characters in the stories — engagement and physical activity boosts comprehension.
If your child isn’t an actor at heart, see if your mini-Picasso can draw their favorite scene or character from the book instead. Families can do this over a Kinoo video chat with fun painting games.
Painting with Kinoo offers a whole new medium beyond crayons and paper. With Kinoo, relatives of all ages can create masterpieces together that delight and enchant. Plus, you can save, print, and share them if you choose.
An Open Book: Reading and Bonding
Reading to children contributes to language skills, communication, and cognitive development. Reading early also instills a love for reading and can help children bond with their loved ones and aid their overall well-being.
While there is no set time to start reading with your child, implementing a reading routine early in life can help solidify the childhood benefits of reading. If your reading routine becomes stale, invigorate it with new books and engaging activities.
At Kinoo, we know how important it is for kids to love reading. With our engaging app, kids can read with their loved ones and bring the books to life together.
Reading aloud to kids has many benefits | MSU Extension
The importance of reading to kids daily | OSU
Activities -- Helping Your Child Become a Reader | US Department of Education
The Role of Books and Reading in STEM | STEM Next
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in the United States: Changing Family Forms, Stagnant Social Policies | NCBI