Supporting your child's education isn't always easy, especially for working parents. Time is short, kids have their own lives, and at the end of the day everybody is worn out.
The good news is, one of the most important things you can do to help a child stay on track is also one of the simplest: Read with them. Every day. Here's why:
1. It builds vocabulary
Reading exposes your child to all kinds of new words. Broadening their vocabulary helps make them better prepared for school and more likely to be reading proficiently by third grade, when reading independently really starts to matter.
2. It exercises the mind
Researchers have found that reading activates areas of children's brains that are linked to memory, visual imagery, and language. It also helps them understand their world and learn new ideas and concepts.
3. It helps kids calm down before bed
Ensuring your child gets a good night's sleep is another critical way you can support their success in school -- and reading with them before bed helps them relax and wind down.
4. It's easy and cheap
Having as few as 20 books around the house can have a significant impact on your child's future education. All you need is a library card, a lamp, and a quiet spot. If you're uncomfortable reading aloud, try listening to a free audiobook or podcast together instead.
5. It's fun!
When you're in the middle of a great story with your child, you'll want to read it as much as they do (maybe more). Plus, it's the perfect way to carve out a little quiet time together at the end of a long day.
Keep in mind that reading aloud isn't just for little kids. There's evidence that reading together with your child through elementary and middle school can help foster a love of reading and benefit their emotional development. So get past any eye-rolling, and get lost in a good book.