Improve English fluency with early reading (7 reasons why kids should read)
Updated: May 4
For a lot of us, English can be tricky to master as a second language. With all the grammar and spelling rules, phonemes, vocabulary, semantics, and more that encompass a language, it can get confusing to get a good grasp of it. One starts to think, “I wish I had learned it earlier!”
You may have heard of the phrase “children soak up languages like sponges” however, research shows that acquiring a second language is not about how quickly it’s done. It’s about the ultimate long-term success of having near-native fluency in the second language (Lightbown, 2018). This is where today’s topic of reading comes in. Reading is a great way to get your kids started on improving their English fluency.
Here are 7 reasons why early reading is beneficial.
1. Reading improves vocabulary range
The more stories your kids are exposed to, the more they will come across unfamiliar words. Research has shown that when children (pre-kindergarteners) are read to at home, over a 5-year period they are exposed to roughly 1.4 million more words compared to children who are never read to (Logan et al., 2019). This difference in vocabulary exposure has been shown to contribute to how prepared children are at recognizing these words in text when they’re in school.
Kids can learn what the word means by understanding how it’s used in a sentence. Also known as context clues. It is important to note that a word can have different definitions in different contexts.
So parents, what’re you waiting for? Pick up that storybook and read with your kids!
Busy at work?
Enroll them in reading-focused classes to increase their exposure to English. This will also give them a chance to form new friendships!
Our Reader Ship Literacy Program aims to improve phonics/decoding, vocabulary development, comprehension, grammar usage, and writing skills.
2. Reading improves grammar and writing skills
Different authors have unique writing styles. Reading a variety of storybooks with your kids will expose them to these writing styles, structures, and genres which they can then incorporate into their own writing tasks.
To spare your kids the hassle of reading a grammar textbook to get a grasp of English grammar, introduce a variety of books to them. A professional author will use appropriate grammar conventions to portray his/her storyline. A grammar textbook could help your kids improve their grammar however, exposure to different books will help your kids naturally understand the use of grammar in different sentences, paragraphs, and chapters of a story. This would make it easier for them to understand grammatical concepts.
3. Reading improves confidence in speaking English
As your kids become confident readers, confident speakers will follow suit. By reading conversations between different characters in a story, they can learn the tone and rhythm of these conversations. Also known as cadence. This understanding of cadence along with an increased vocabulary range and understanding of grammatical concepts can allow them to fluently communicate in English with their friends, family members, and teachers.
4. Read and bond with your kids
With a busy work schedule, it can get tough to spend some quality time with your kids. Reading together is a great way to do so. Pick a book and dive into a wild story together. Act out scenes to make it even more interactive!
5. Reading helps build focus and concentration
With all the distractions around us, it's hard for even adults to focus and concentrate on one task. So, it can be tricky to expect that from our kids. From excitement, to hunger, to different sounds in a room, anything can distract your kids.
Don’t panic, there are several ways that you can bring focus and awareness back onto the table. Reading happens to be one of them. Switch off the TV, head to a designated reading area in your house, sit down with your kids and read a book that sparks their interest. The more excited they are about the book, the more focus and attention they’ll maintain on reading. This maintained focus on one task will help them learn and build attention and awareness for other important tasks in their lives.
6. Reading develops intelligence
According to a 2014 study of 1,840 identical twins, "Reading was associated not only with measures of verbal intelligence (such as vocabulary tests) but with measures of nonverbal intelligence as well (such as reasoning tests)" (Stronger early reading skills predict higher intelligence later, 2014).
As your kids get older and advance to higher-level books, they can question the author’s style of writing, analyze the character’s development in the story and ask themselves the message of the story. Reading is a great way to develop critical thinking which is needed in all aspects of our lives.
Get your kids reading today to help them become critical thinkers!
7. Reading fosters creativity
This one should come as no surprise. Kids get to tap into their imagination as they surround themselves in worlds authors create. From the chocolate-filled factory in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory to the heart-stopping adventures of the Magic School Bus, kids get to step into the shoes of different characters and anticipate what lies ahead. Encourage your kids to read to get their creative juices flowing!
To help your kids read effectively, check out our blog, 3 tips to raise a young reader!
1. Patsy Lightbown (2008) Concordia Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, 1, 1-25.
2. Jessica A. R. Logan, Laura M. Justice, Melike Yumuş, Leydi Johana Chaparro-Moreno. When Children Are Not Read to at Home. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000657
3. Society for Research in Child Development. (2014, July 24). Stronger early reading skills predict higher intelligence later. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 11, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724094209.htm