It's World Read Aloud Day! Here are three reasons you should be celebrating
World Read Aloud Day is celebrated annually on 5 February. Here READ Educational Trust shares all the ways this powerful exercise can benefit your child.
Reading aloud holds so many rewards. (iStock)
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If there's one day all South African parents and educators should have marked off on their calendar, it's World Read Aloud Day!

Celebrated every year on 5 February, World Read Aloud Day is set aside as a reminder of just how powerful reading to children really is. 

In 2016, an international study found that the majority (80%) of SA's Grade 4 learners were "unable to read for meaning in any language", even their home language! 

According to READ Educational Trust, this alarming statistic need not persist into the new decade, and here the Gauteng-based organisation presents three reasons you should start reading to your child every day. 

Welcome to our STORYTIME hub! Find free resources for little readers here

Strengthens vocabulary and listening skills 

Reading aloud holds so many rewards. For one, this activity promotes a stronger vocabulary. One of the main ways in which children hone their language skills is through listening.

Kids don't just hear the word in isolation; they are exposed to the context in which that word is used.

This opens up a world of possibility for them and expands their communication potential.

Tip: Put off your phone! Choose a book based on your child's interests and make sure you read it like you mean it: the right book, read by an enthusiastic reader, can make a world of difference. 

Reading helps your child put their feelings into words

A well-written story can communicate coping skills to children who might be faced with a particular problem.

Reading aloud can provide a safe way of identifying emotions in the classroom or home setting, think of a topic like bullying, for example. A gripping tale on the subject could encourage children to express their feelings and helps diffuse emotions.

Top tip: Make time to discuss the moral of the story with your child, so that if they are facing troubling issues, they'll bring it up during discussion time. 

Promotes bonding and builds relationships 

Both in the classroom and at home, reading aloud undoubtedly encourages bonding. The quality time helps parents unwind as well; reinforces relationships and helps kids develop their social and interpersonal skills. 

And if you remain unconvinced about the benefits of reading aloud to your child, here's a few other reasons: 

Reading to your kids could result in a lifetime earnings increase of R2m

Just 20 minutes of reading aloud to your kids each day could result in them earning over R50K per year more than those who weren't exposed to this bonding experience.

Teach your kids about African history with these locally produced books

Ethnikids founder, Khumo Tapfumaneyi, tells us all the reasons you should be including these locally penned African history books to your child's reading repertoire.

Build closer connections through conscious story-telling

South African author of the Conscious Bedtime Stories series, Andrew Newman, talks to Parent24 about using story time to connect more deeply with children.

'A priceless gift': Jamela Series creator Niki Daly tells us why books and parenting go hand-in-hand

Award-winning writer and illustrator Niki Daly shared a few tips for parents hoping to inspire a love of reading in their children, highly recommending that parents commit to a daily reading routine with their kids from very early on. 

For more information about READ Educational Trust visit Read.org.za

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