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Feed Your Child’s Imagination through Books

March 2 is Read Across America Day

3/1/2023

Katelyn Frankwick, PA-C

Children crawl before they walk. They learn language before they read, and one effective way to set the stage for language learning in children is by reading with them.

Studies show that starting at an early age helps to increase their vocabulary and improves their reading fluency and comprehension. According to one in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to.

“Reading to your child is more than telling them a story. It’s a way to bond with your child on a deep emotional level, foster creativity, and help them build and grow their language skills,” says Katelyn Frankwick, PA-C, Aspirus Clinic – Marshfield. “It’s an activity that should be as vital to your daily routine as brushing their teeth or eating dinner together.”

According to the Children’s Bureau, some benefits of reading to children include:

  • Supported cognitive development
  • Improved language skills
  • Preparation for academic success
  • Developing a special bond with your child
  • Increased concentration and discipline
  • Improved imagination and creativity
  • Cultivating a lifelong love of reading

Frankwick says, “making story time an essential part of your daily routine will be an investment in your child’s education that you will continue to see for years to come.” She recommends the following tips for getting started:

Start early. Babies thrive on routine and making story time part of that routine is something they will grow up learning to look forward to. It does not have to be a book specific for young children. Even just reading out loud a novel or newspaper can help foster speech development.

Find creative ways to incorporate reading. Make a recipe together and have your child read the instructions to you or read them together. Make it a game when traveling to read different road signs and find words that start with every letter of the alphabet. Help your child write their own story to foster imagination and help language development.

Invest in a reading nook. Make a fun space for your child to go to read. Have a variety of books available to them as well as good lighting. This could be a princess castle, a fort, or just a bench. Wherever it is, it is a dedicated reading space where they can go to have quiet time to read.

Check out the local library. This is a great, free resource to get books to try. Most librarians can give good recommendations on age-appropriate books as well. Some libraries have seasonal reading programs to keep children reading throughout the year and motivate them to do so. 

Make it a family affair. If you have teenagers or pre-teens, set time aside to read as a family. Everyone can either read the same book or different books, just do so at a consistent time together. Begin by setting the example. You don’t need to read for hours. Even 15 minutes a day can make a difference. Try to find something you all enjoy reading and read together. This can further a family bond by leading to discussion.

For more information, tips and tricks on reading and language development, or general questions about pediatrics, schedule an appointment with Katelyn Frankwick, PA-C at Aspirus Clinic – Marshfield. In addition to being a mother, she loves caring for children of all ages, as well as caring for adults. To schedule an appointment, call 715.898.1238. To find a provider near you, visit www.aspirus.org/find-a-provider

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