10 Benefits of Reading (Bilingual) Books For Kids – For the Love of Books
Why is reading books so important for kids?
We started TimTimTom because we believe in the power of reading and believe that from an educational point of view, reading is the most important gift you can give to your children to help them succeed in life. And this is true, not only from an educational standpoint but also from an emotional one.
Kids that read are better in all subjects, even in math.
Many parents don’t realize this, but reading is really the most important skill needed for success in school.
Let me give you a real-life example:
How can a child solve a math problem, if he or she does not have the proper vocabulary to understand what is being asked of him or her?
Volunteering as a homework helper in an inner-city school in Hartford, I noticed this problem many years ago. Many of the Spanish speaking children that came to the afternoon homework sessions, considered themselves as not-good-in-math type of kids. However, this was not true at all, they were simply missing the necessary vocabulary to understand the math problems. Once I translated just a few words they could not understand, the kids had no problem in figuring out their math. It was a total AHA moment even for their teachers. Moral of the story: Read 15 minutes a day with your kids, you will see how their vocabulary explodes in every language.
So here our top 10 benefits of reading (even better if reading in two languages).
Why is reading so important? What are the benefits of reading books?
No other method boosts your kids’ vocabulary as much as reading, as you can see in this research: Anne E. Cunningham ”What reading does for the mind” . Just 15 minutes of bed-time reading makes a big difference in the future vocabulary of your kids. Children that are exposed to reading from an early age have a much higher chance to enjoy reading throughout their lives. This holds true if you read in one or two languages.
If you are reading aloud to your kids or they are reading on their own, it is a good way to finish the day before falling asleep. Reading relaxes the mind and please, please, please DO NOT underestimate the emotional benefit of cuddling up. Bedtime stories create a close bond and a “scheduled” time to spend some time together.
Reading broadens the mind and you can learn to see the world from a different angle or human perspective. Reading builds a critical mind. You can agree or disagree with the view of the author, a kid can start to develop a sense of what they believe is right or wrong and it is a great conversation starter. When reading in more than one language the child quickly learns different sentence structures and grammatical rules. A bilingual child will have exposure, possibly, to two different perspectives of the world and become more understanding of differences.
Not only vocabulary, but reading helps kids learn about the world around them. They learn about colours and patterns, how to tie their shoes, history, geography or science from both non-fiction and fiction books. The language used in books is more diverse than what we use in a day to day conversation. Kids, however, don’t only learn from the words used but also from the concepts presented in the stories. If you are in a multicultural family, books allow you to bring cultural traditions closer to your children.
When you read you learn to focus on the words and images you are taking in. Reading helps kids to learn to focus and teaches them to concentrate on the task at hand. This is especially important in our crazy multitasking day to day. When kids use more than one language, reading allows them to completely concentrate on only one language at a time. Bilingual parents often choose to focus the home reading on the minority language in order to help further develop that language.
Books make kids dream and it can inspire them to be creative. Kids can learn from the characters in a book, dream and develop their creativity by transporting themselves into these stories. Reading allows your children to let their imagination run wild. Kids can then link the stories or biographies they are reading about to their own life. Children are clearly more creative than adults and while reading their brain is literally activated. MRI scans of children reading show this explosion of activity, it seriously looks like a firework of colours.
Reading makes it easier to relate to others and increases emotional intelligence. You can see the world from the perspective of another person, you can understand what they are going through and for a minute you put yourself in their shoes. Kids learn to be more understanding of others. Kids growing up bilingually already have an advantage because they grow up looking at the world with two diverse perspectives from a language point of view alone, not even taking into consideration the cultural diversity that they might also be growing up with, in parallel.
8. Reading is enjoyable
Books can make you laugh, they can make you cry and can activate any emotion in between. It’s simply fun, in our view even better when you can experience all these emotions in two languages.
You can learn different ways of expressing your thoughts in another language. Reading helps you build your vocabulary, but also sentence structure and spelling.
This for me is the most important and enjoyable benefit of reading and it brings us back to our LOVE OF BOOKS topic, the emotional benefit of reading with and to your kids is not measurable…so get cozy, cuddle up and share some giggles…
Don’t miss out, continue reading aloud as long as possible and keep on enjoying the snuggle-up time reading before bedtime, at breakfast, while riding the bus…simply anywhere and anytime is good for a little reading break and why not a little bilingual reading break.
A bilingual and personalized story that will spark your kid’s imagination and language ability.
You can customize the name and look of the child and choose any combination of two out of ten available languages.
(Some available language combinations: English-Spanish, English-German, English-Russian, English-Chinese, English-Portuguese, English-Italian, English-Dutch, English-French, French-German, Russian-German, Spanish-German.)
The books are now also available in one language
TimTimTom – Reading in Two Languages is Double the Fun