Reading to children makes them smarter

Reading to children makes them smarter

Did you know reading to children can benefit them no matter their age?

We might assume that once children are able to read fluently, they no longer need to be read to aloud. However, researchers at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) have revealed through MRI technology, that reading to children causes diverse levels of heightened activity in the brain. The effects of reading on child development are vast and here’s why.

Due to its powerful learning potential, educators and caregivers can harness a child’s full potential by ensuring reading is a key part of their daily routine. While story time with children builds lasting bonds with their caregivers and boosts their imaginative, language and literacy skills, reading to older kids also holds opportunities. Reading to kids up to the age of 14, can enhance their experience of the world and overall wellbeing.

Hearing a story requires children to use their listening skills, this is a crucial milestone kids must master before they are able to read themselves.

While little ones are listening, they are working on their budding ability to memorize things. In fact, according to Healthline, these reading sessions promote higher language and IQ scores later on in life. This extends throughout childhood and well into the teen years.

Aside from nurturing brains, books also offer kids the ability to express themselves and a chance to dream – a gift all of its own. The fantastical pages of a book offer all children the chance to glimpse into the lives of make-believe characters and learn about new cultures, people and places- a world entirely different from their own. They can also experience a range of emotions, while acquiring new words, skills and knowledge.


Reading the same story over and over helps kids

And while reading builds vocabulary, reading the same books to your child over and over is fast-tracking them to future life success. Hearing the same stories helps kids process the words more effectively and commit them to memory. This repetition leads to mastery, predictability and a strengthened sense of confidence.

It’s important to understand how children learn new words. They learn through experience, consistency and meaningful context. Children’s books use language in new and playful ways, but the words still must make sense. Kids need words to be explained in order to understand and comprehend them. This is where vocabulary is crucial and an often overlooked stepping stone to building successful readers.


KILT’s Remedial and Learning Acceleration Project is working!

KILT’s response to this was to develop our Remedial and Learning Acceleration Project (RLA).  This project consists of five interrelated programmes, one of which is the Grade 3 Reading with Comprehension Programme. The programme is aimed at helping children to enrich their vocabulary, strengthen their thinking skills and increase reading fluency and comprehension, with support from skilled facilitators and involved parents. Through this programme, 96% of children showed increases in their Western Cape Education Department scores in word recognition and 88% in reading level. In fact, an astounding 87% of Grade 3’s are now attending weekly classroom reading sessions and 304 more children are able to access libraries and stories due to this initiative.

Our Grade 1 Remedial Support Programme, provides the most academically vulnerable children with additional support. These children, who’s potential is often undiscovered, enjoy being taken out in small groups and given focused attention. Some children in Grade 1 are already showing such marked progress that they are able to exit the programme into mainstream.

One of the teachers stated that 50% less children are likely to fail due to this KILT programme.

KILT has added two new programmes, namely Classroom Reading and Library Storytelling. Teachers appreciate the help from our programme facilitators as they often do not find the time to read aloud themselves because of curriculum demands. This also allows for increased impact on the whole classroom, rather than just on the children in the Reading with Comprehension Programme.

Our Library Reading sessions are encouraging children to gather at break time to listen to a story. This is proving to be an exciting and celebrated time for little ones. Children at four primary schools are showing huge enthusiasm, which is a delight to see, particularly with the older children.

By equipping our teachers with the right information and by providing extra helping hands, we are having a powerful impact on our children, and on the entire school community.


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