By Jennifer Leighfield • 03 June 2021 • 13:46
Encourage your kids to read
READING before you go to sleep at night has many benefits and is much better for you than flicking through social media, so say goodbye to the screen before bed and dive into a good book.
One of the main benefits is that it allows you to take your mind of other things and relax, which in turn reduces stress.
It also allows you to take in new information, which boosts your brain, improving spelling and vocabulary even if you are reading fiction and fantasy. At the same time, it broadens your mind, giving you different perspectives and makes you more creative.
It doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you like it, it will help you to relax and sleep which will make you concentrate better the next day.
Reading to your children
These benefits start from a very early age, and if you instil a love of books and stories in your children from the very beginning, it will accompany them throughout life.
When you read to babies and young children, they absorb the language they hear and the lessons to be learned from the characters.
Time to unwind
There are many reasons to make a routine of reading to your child, either before bed or at any other quiet time of the day.
It’s a lovely way to bond with them and it will help both of you unwind and relax, as well helping them to feel secure.
Apart from that, it helps their listening and comprehension skills, and in turn, their language development skills, vocabulary, and cognitive level.
Research suggests that reading to your children and talking to them from a very young age will improve their language skills and IQ.
Another study suggests that children who are read to regularly are exposed to more than one million words which children who aren’t read to won’t generally hear used in everyday conversation.
Although it may not happen at the beginning if you haven’t read to your child from a baby, reading to them helps concentration and self-discipline over time, and improves their attention span and memory retention.
Reading fiction stories, will help to develop their imagination and get them thinking outside the box, which in turn helps creativity and will encourage them to develop other interests.
Most stories have a life lesson which your child can learn from, and will hope with their social and emotional development.
Start as soon as you can, reading to children, even if they don’t understand all the words, has many benefits.
Where to find books
You can find books in your local bookshops, second-hand shops, online or take a trip to the library. Even in Spain, many libraries have English book sections. Take some time to look for something you like, and don’t worry about buying too many to start with. Small children love to have the same story read to them over and over again.
Don’t just read the book, let them see the pictures, ask them about it, point things out to them. As they get older, you can find out how well they are understanding the story or test their imagination by thinking up alternative endings or guessing what will happen next.
Make it fun
Make it something fun. You need to make sure you have time to read, not rush it, and don’t make it appear to be a chore for you or your child will pick up on this.
If you can, read with different voices and make your reading a little more dramatic. If you are self conscious to begin with, try with just some simple intonation, and as you get more confident you can try to be more expressive to make the story come to life.
Point out connections between your child and the character in the book to reinforce positive behaviour, and if you can’t find a book, then make up a story!
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Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics.
Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.
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