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The 12 Benefits of Reading Books Out Loud to Children of All Ages

Kids of all ages (and adults, too) benefit from being read to, including even babies and toddlers.

Reading Aloud to Kids:
The 12 Benefits of Reading Books Out Loud
to Children of All Ages
©2015 Health Realizations, Inc. Update

Reading aloud to children is one of the most important things you can do to ensure their future success, and more and more Americans seem to be jumping on the read-aloud bandwagon. While only 78 percent of families read to their pre-kindergarten-aged children frequently (three or more times a week) in 1993, this increased to 86 percent in 2005, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and is important to continue increasing for the sake of your children.

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Kids of all ages (and adults, too) benefit from being read to, including even babies and toddlers.

"Children are never too young to have stories read to them," says Nancy Verhoek-Miller, a specialist in early childhood education at Mississippi State University.

The benefits are so profound, and kids form so much of their intelligence potential during the early years of their life, that experts recommend reading aloud to your child as soon as he or she is born, and continuing indefinitely.

Why Read to Your Kids? Here are 12 Important Reasons

"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children," a Commission on Reading report found.

In fact, reading is so important that a non-profit group called Read Aloud America is traveling to different schools to promote literacy, encourage a love of reading in adults and children, and increase children's prospects for success in school and life.

Their Read Aloud Program (RAP) brings together kids and families at host schools to stimulate their interest in reading, decrease television viewing, increase family time spent in reading activities, and connect the values of good books to everyday life. Although the program is currently only offered in Hawaii, you can gain the same benefits from reading to your kids at home.

Here are 12 of the key reasons to start (or continue) reading aloud to your kids today.

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  • Build a lifelong interest in reading. "Getting kids actively involved in the process of reading, and having them interact with adults, is key to a lifelong interest in reading," said BeAnn Younker, principal at Battle Ground Middle School in Indiana.

  • Children whose parents read to them tend to become better readers and perform better in school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

  • Reading to kids helps them with language and speech development.

  • It expands kids' vocabulary and teaches children howto pronounce new words.

  • Reading to toddlers prepares them for school, during which they will need to listen to what is being said to them (similar to what they do while being read to).

  • Reading to older kids helps them understand grammar and correct sentence structure.

  • Kids and parents can use reading time as bonding time. It's an excellent opportunity for one-on-one communication, and it gives kids the attention they crave.

  • Being read to builds children's attention spans and helps them hone their listening skills.

  • Curiosity, creativity and imagination are all developed while being read to.

  • Being read to helps kids learn how to express themselves clearly and confidently.

  • Kids learn appropriate behavior when they're read to, and are exposed to new situations, making them more prepared when they encounter these situations in real life.

  • When read to, children are able to experience the rhythm and melody of language even before they can understand the spoken or printed word.

Editor's note: Below are recommendations from this article which are for general public. I would like to add a few recommendations for books that can be read to children that have a Sikhi element:

My Guru's Blessing: These are dual language books that you can read to your children which will imbibe spiritual values and Punjabi language. Click here to find these colorful and wonderful books for young children. You can also find many other comic books that will be enjoyable for slightly older children.



Journey with the Guru: Told in a way that your children will relate to and understand this series of books follows the life and journey of Guru Nanak. Click here to find out more about these high quality books that your children will remember. 



SikhNet Audio Stories: Over 100 stories your children can either read or listen to. They are all available to freely download and come with at least one easy to print image for your children to color in. Click here to browse through all the stories.   

Top Recommended Read-Aloud Books

Want to read aloud with your kids but not sure what to read? Here are some of the top picks out there for kids of all ages.

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Time for bed by MEM FOX
“Darkness is falling everywhere and little ones are getting sleepy, feeling cozy, and being tucked in. It’s time for a wide yawn: a big hug, and a snuggle under the covers-sleep tight!" This book is written with a beautiful repetitive soothingly text cadence. Each page paints feelings of affection, comfort and loving assurance.
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by MEM FOX (who lives in Adelaide, Australia).
A simply gorgeous picture book for very young children is a celebration of baby fingers, baby toes, with all their wrinkles and the joy they bring us all.

Pre-Kindergarten / Kindergarten
Treasure Hunt by Allan Ahlberg
Young readers can play along as little Tilly plays treasure-hunting games with her parents.
Night of the Mooniellies by Mark Shasha
A picture book that describes a child's summer day in New England.

1st/ 2nd Grade
I Love You More by Laura Duksta
One of the bestselling self-published children's titles of all times. Has won numerous awards. Prepare for you hearts to swell with tears of gratitude and love. A way to see life each day in new ways and yet through the same window. Enjoy!
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
In the town of ChewandSwallow: breakfast, lunch and dinner rain down from the sky ... but then things start to get messy.

3rd/4th Grade
Stand Tall by Joan Bauer
Tree is 12 years old and already 6 foot, 3 inches tall, but it's his parents' divorce, not his height, that makes his life really complicated.

Wishworks. Inc. by Stephanie S. Tolan (2011)
How young Max and his pets handle transitions. Children might feel more open to ask questions about friends at schools including topics such as divorce, new home, new school, a big bully, etc. This can create a wonderful open forum to allow children to express and share thoughts on topics they might not otherwise share.

5th / 6th ~ 8th Grade
The Tiger Rising by Kate Dicamillo
Rob has just lost his mother, and moved to a new town with his father, when he discovers a caged tiger in the woods. The find ends up opening many doors for the grief-stricken boy in this emotional and symbolic story.
Listing of books to consider as to what might be a great fit for current events and circumstances in their lives.

9th -12th Grade
Watership Down by Richard Adams
An epic tale that follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer.
Listing of books to consider as to what might be a great fit for current events and circumstances in their lives.


Read Aloud America
National Center for Education Statistics
Evanston Courier Press
Mississippi State University
Reading is Fundamental


Dr. Soram Singh Khalsa, M.D.

Dr. Soram Khalsa is an internist in Beverly Hills, California and is affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He specializes in Internal Medicine and Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition.

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