The Benefits of Reading to Children

25 07 2007

I fondly remember spending my childhood propped up on my older sisters lap listening to her exaggerated tone as she read to me. I remember my mother never failing to read me a bedtime story. Then, as I turned into a pre-teen I remember reading The Baby Sitters Club, Goosbumps, and other similar books. My love of reading has continued to this day. I can say one thing. I aced literature in school. I was far above most of the class in reading comprehension. I sincerely believe that my success was due to the love of reading instilled into me as a child.

Sadly, today, many children would rather sit in front of the television all day watching their favorite programs or playing video games. While I see nothing wrong with watching television from time to time or playing video games once in awhile, I find it disturbing that some parents allow their children to spend all their free time in this manner. It’s best to be well rounded. Some television programs certainly promote learning and reading. However, I believe it makes a greater impact on the child when his/her parent(s) actually sit down and read together.

Here are some benefits of reading with children. Hopefully they will inspire us to try to set aside some time to read with our children. It could make a huge difference in their lives and ours!

Some Benefits of Reading Aloud

By: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools. (1999)

Reading aloud to children in any language prepares them to learn to read English. Learn about the benefits in this article.

Young children learn a great deal when books are read aloud to them.

They learn about the internal structure of stories – how they begin, different types of conflicts, and possible solutions. They sometimes learn empathy for others and see other sides to a story, such as understanding what the main character is going through (whether person or animal), be it fear, anger, or humility.

Reading aloud provides opportunities for students to view persons not in their immediate environment, for example the elderly, wise persons, or people from different ethnic backgrounds or social status. And through books, children can travel to far away lands and learn about life in the jungle or on a cattle ranch.

In reading books, children learn what is considered proper or appropriate behavior for their culture or that of others. Depending on the story, they could learn about the need to respect the elderly, how to ask for forgiveness, or how to show you’re sorry.

Finally, when reading fairy tales or modern fantasy, children learn how to use their imagination, to view situations from various perspectives, and to know that events can be seen from different viewpoints.


Adapted and excerpted from “Reading Children’s Books: There’s More to it than Meets the Eye” (1999). ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools.

Some good websites for parents:




6 responses

25 07 2007
University Update - Video Games - The Benefits of Reading to Children

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25 07 2007

I can totally relate! Reading helps mould children’s minds. I had a similar experience too. As a kid I was an Enid Blyton fiend. I guzzled down her books like cookies… and here I am today a writer with an almost romantic affinity for books, hehe… 🙂 I used to think writing was in my blood. But no, actually I was exposed to books at an early age.

Reading makes children more intelligent. Boosts their imagination and doesn’t make them restless when there’s ‘nothing to do’ as a result they’re not prone to giving into peer pressure and other negative results of idleness easily. All in all it’s an excellent habit to acquire… and as Muslims it teaches them to seek knowledge at an early age. It’s the responsibility of parents to instill that ‘thirst’ by making the home environment conducive… and by being good example themselves. When I start having kids I pray to Allah I’ll be there to read to them.

Gosh… I could go on and on you now… cause it’s my passion and all… but I think I’ll stop here now. 😀

25 07 2007
UmAbdurrahman, "Blanca"

As Salaamu Alaikum:

I could not agree with you more sis. Reading is such a powerful thing for anybody. “I read to you and you read to me.” This a book with simple, silly poems. Just by talking to your children can also instill better communication skills. Reading as you said, is very valuable and to have children spend too much time wih real passive activites such as watching TOO much t.v. or TOO many games can be cut down. I enjoyed reading your article. I will pass it along, Insh’Allah

25 07 2007

I remember very good days from childhood, when my mom used to read books for me and it helped me to learn reading from 4 years old. And after that i got addicted to books. I was eldest and for other siblings mom didnt have much time to do same. So i am almost the only eater of books in our family. lol Not just about books, mom’s reading, helped me to imagine the stories and it made my mind ready to think and analyse. I love my childhood:)

28 07 2007
Umm Layth

My parents didn’t read much to us when we were little, unfortunately. I think it affected us because we weren’t ever that interested in reading. My favorite class in school was English, though; it just took a lot out of me to make myself read. Every time I opened a book I had a very hard time getting passed the beginning. If I couldn’t read the first part – I just couldn’t read the book at all. It is still something I struggle with, but for the most part I do really love reading.

I can also blame the television, but not really. We never had cable/satellite. We had movies like Cantinflas (the Spanish speakers may know what I’m talking about), and small cartoons in VHS format but that was it, really. So t.v wasn’t a big deal for us. For others, television is to blame. Pick up the book The Plug-In Drug, or The Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, and you will see how it sheds light to how this box or rays has been the cause of children falling behind academically, and how it is also to blame for the changes in children’s activities, like playing outside and reading.

I don’t think television is beneficial at all. Studies have proven that educational isn’t really education. Prop up a child in front of an educational show and pay close attention to how well he pays attention to what is actually being taught. The television only hypnotizes and even the American Academy of Pediatrics has asked that children 2 and under do not watch it at all due to the harms it causes mentally.

For parents – these books are a must read.

28 07 2007
Umm Layth

box of rays*

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