It’s the perfect end to a long day—you let your children choose a book, you all snuggle up, and you read together. It’s more than just a bonding experience, though. Reading to your kids will shape their minds and behaviors in more ways than one. In fact, we have six more reasons why your family literature sessions should be a regular activity: 

1. Reading Boosts Vocabulary. As an adult, you probably still come across words in books that you don’t know. You might look them up to learn the definition and add a few more words to your vocabulary. Your children experience this newness every time you read to them. They soak up information like sponges, too—the more you read, the more words they learn. 

This effect can start at an early age. Nowadays, pediatricians recommend that you start reading to your little ones in infancy. Doctors even say that babies can understand the emotions behind the words you read to them. So, as they get older, comprehending the feeling turns into an understanding of what the word means. 

You’ll also see this manifest as improved speech, too. Hearing you pronounce words properly will show your children how they should speak, too. This advantage extends beyond vocabulary—your children will learn correct sentence structure and improve their grammar as well. 

2. Reading Increases Attention Spans. Little children aren’t known for their ability to pay attention for long stretches. However, reading helps them to hone this skill—they want to know how the story will end, after all. You’ll have to start small, as you can’t expect your little one to pay attention for hours right away. Instead, start with a short picture book, perhaps one that takes 10 minutes to read. Then, work your way up to longer stories—even the most energetic brood will sit and listen to a story that has captivated them. Clearly, this skill will come in handy down the line when your children go to school. Sitting and listening with interest will get them far academically, too. 

3. Reading Will Foster a Lifelong Love of Books. You love nighttime reading and snuggles, and your children do, too. If you make it part of your daily routine, then they’ll always think of reading as something warm and positive. As they grow, they’ll only continue to crack open books and read on their own. 

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Just make sure that you’re choosing the right stories now to forge an enduring interest. You have plenty of resources to help you do so. For starters, award-winning children’s books tend to do the trick. Or, you can ask your kids while you’re reading. Do they like the story? If so, keep that book in rotation and maintain their interest in reading. 

4. Reading Strengthens Imaginations. Children’s books typically come with gorgeous pictures, which allow your kids to see and understand the words that you’re reading. However, they will also begin to conjure images of the story in their minds. As you read to them more, their imaginations only continue to grow. 

It’s vital that children hone their imaginations and imaginative play at an early age. Playing pretend gives children the opportunity to express emotions both positive and negative. Such a skill will serve them for the rest of their lives. It can all start with reading and helping them to explore the creative side of their minds.

5. Reading Boosts Children’s Comprehension. Books unlock a lot of learning potential. For instance, your story’s likely to introduce your child to a character who has a dilemma. As you read to your child, they’ll start to understand these problems. If you ask them, they might even come up with a solution to the issue on their own. 

On top of problem-solving and plot, kids can also increase their comprehension of emotions and morality. Did that character do what’s right? How do you think he feels? They’ll start to put themselves in the story to better understand it, thus making them smarter and more emotionally adept. 

6. Reading Provides Quality Time Together. We’ve already touched on this benefit, but it’s worth mentioning once more. When you read with your kids, you have their undivided attention for a sliver of time. There’s no toy or screen in the way of your bonding. Instead, you sit on the couch or snuggle in bed and read together. As your children grow up, you’ll find yourself wanting to press the pause button more than once. You can’t stop time, of course, but reading together gives you the chance to slow it down. 

So, start to build a collection of kid-friendly books, or gather some from your local library. That’s all you need to start this daily ritual—one that will make both you and your children happy.