You\u2019ve had a long, stressful day at work. After you\u2019ve rushed home to put dinner on the table and ensure everyone gets their homework done and does their chores it\u2019s now time for bed. For many families, reading at bedtime is the best part of the day. It\u2019s when parents and children really get to spend some quality time together and connect over a story. Not only is reading to your children critical for developing your child's speech, there are a number of other benefits associated with it as well. Today we\u2019ll take a look at some of these. Can Reading Help Babies Before They're Born? Some people claim reading to a child in the womb can have positive impacts, even before birth. A 2013 study looked into whether there is actually merit to this claim. In this study, pregnant people were given a recording of a made-up word for their babies to listen to in the womb near the end of pregnancy. When the babies were born, they could recognize the words and variations of them, showing that reading to children in the womb may actually be beneficial. So if you\u2019re an avid reader during pregnancy, consider reading your current literary love out loud. Benefits Of Reading To Infants And Toddlers Reading to children is incredibly important, even when they\u2019re just infants and may not be able to understand the stories you\u2019re telling them. Let\u2019s look at some of the advantages of reading to children and babies. 1. It Helps Build Social Skills Hearing stories can help develop your child\u2019s social skills. Techniques such as making voices to differentiate characters, and changing the expression of your voice build emotional awareness in babies. As well, the physical act of touching books and pointing at images in the book can help to promote social skills. 2. It Teaches Them How Books, And Stories, Work When you pick up a book, you seem to instinctively know how it works. You open it from the front and read the words from left-to-right. Although you may not realize it, you had to learn this somewhere. Reading to children shows them how books work, which is key for reading later in life. 3. It Helps Them Learn About The World As you read to your child, it\u2019s inevitable they will stop you to ask questions. They might point at a picture which they don\u2019t recognize or stop you to ask about words they don\u2019t know. Being patient and taking your time when these questions come up not only helps your child learn about the world, it shows them it\u2019s okay to ask questions about things they aren\u2019t sure about. 4. It Helps Them Build Speaking Skills As you read to your children, they are learning how to pronounce words. Hearing you say them is a great way for them to learn how to say words, especially those which are longer or more difficult to pronounce. Benefits Of Reading To Preschoolers Children in preschool often cling to a favorite story or book they want over and over again. Even though you might be getting bored of some books, it\u2019s important to remember your children are still getting benefits from hearing the same story, even if it\u2019s the 100th night in a row. Let\u2019s see what they are. 1. It Encourages Them To Learn To Read The more you read to your children, the greater an interest they\u2019ll have in finding stories and books to read on their own. This is important as reading independently gives children the skills they need to build literacy. 2. It Helps Them Learn New Words If you\u2019ve ever accidentally said a \u201cbad word\u201d in front of your preschool-aged child, you know they are constantly learning new words and soaking up vocabulary from the world around them. One of the most important ways children expand their vocabulary is through being read to. 3. It Helps Them Build Empathy Stories introduce children to the points of views and experiences of people other than themselves, through the characters they are reading about. Reading about characters with different backgrounds teaches them to view the world from perspectives they may not have considered. Tips For Reading Books To Your Child Generally speaking, any reading to your child is better than not reading to them at all. There are, however, some things you can do to make it a better and richer experience for both of you. Keep reading for some tips. 1. Help Your Child Understand What They're Hearing Making links between the characters and stories in books, and what\u2019s happening in your child\u2019s life can help them to connect to the book, and offer a greater understanding of the books you read. If something happens to a character in a book that\u2019s similar to an experience your child has gone through, stopping to make that connection can help them to better understand what you\u2019re reading to them. 2. Use Action Words Take some time to talk about the pictures that go with the stories you\u2019re reading. Don\u2019t just name the objects in the pictures, but use verbs, or action words, to describe what\u2019s happening in the pictures - are characters walking or running or jumping? Describing what\u2019s happening in pictures can help to develop vocabulary. 3. Relate The Book To Their Own Experiences Find ways to help your child to connect things which happen to characters in a book to their own life. Building these understandings makes reading more fun and interesting. 4. Stress The Important Words Certain words are more important than others to understand the meaning of a book or story. Stressing important words may involve changing the pitch or speed of your voice so they are highlighted as something to pay attention to. 5. Think Beyond The Pages Encourage your child to use deductive reasoning to guess what happens next, or to compare what\u2019s happening in the book to situations they\u2019ve faced in real life Doing this can help develop problem-solving skills and imagination in your child. Book An Appointment With District Speech Are you worried your child isn\u2019t developing speech at the same rate as their peers? Have they been diagnosed with a developmental disability which impacts their speech? At District Speech, we can help. Contact us today to set up a consultation with one of our speech and language therapists.