Starting from birth to six years of age a child’s brain is going through remarkable growth and development, during this critical period over a million neural connections are formed every second making this time optimal for learning. Other factors influencing brain development include relationships, experiences, and the environment in which children are exposed to; these influences and experiences have the ability to form new and lasting connections in the brain as well.
Reading to your child daily beginning from birth is one of the most beneficial activities you can do for this very reason; not only does it come highly recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics but it is proven to have many positive and long-term effects on your child’s intellectual and social development, as well as, your parent-child relationship.
Linguistic benefits of reading to your child
Reading aloud to your child has phenomenal and significant effects on how they absorb, grasp, and understand language. Not only does reading to your child introduce a wide range of vocabulary, but it also exposes them to syntax which is essential for putting thoughts, ideas, and sentences together.
Literacy and cognition are also affected when you read to your child. Reading stimulates patterns of brain development which build understanding and knowledge. Listening skills and memory are affected, and the senses are enhanced. Furthermore, reading to children early on can also have a positive effect on their interest in reading and their literacy as they progress in their education, preparing them for success in school and life.
Social and emotional benefits of reading to your child
Social and emotional development are also aspects of a child’s development which are positively influenced by reading. It has been proven that children who are read to during this critical time of development have fewer issues with attention, disruptive behaviors, hyperactivity, and aggression. Reading aloud and playing together helps children have better control of their behavior in general as well.
Not only is reading to your child a very personal nurturing experience but it is the perfect opportunity for parent-child bonding. Taking the time for your child provides a safe and happy environment which can help them adapt and positively approach difficult and new social settings outside of the home.
“Reading to your child is the best investment of your time as a parent. The pleasure and benefits of a daily read aloud routine will be enjoyed by both of you and your child for years after the books have been read. Everyone needs some downtime in their busy schedules. To give your child your complete and undivided attention and love through the sharing of stories is one of the life’s deepest joys.”
– Pia Wong, Executive Director, Bring Me a Book Hong Kong.
How to pick the right child books for your child
Knowing how to pick the right book for your child is key, it is important to choose age-appropriate books that will keep your child’s attention. Picking books with imaginative illustrations and positive messages is a good way to approach the selection process as well. Animated and whimsical books with eccentric characters and storylines provide a great opportunity for play, excitement, and imagination, keeping reading fun. It is also recommended to pick books that allow your child an interactive experience whether it be through picture identification or providing the opportunity to ask them questions about the storyline.
A great local resource to check out is Bring Me a Book Hong Kong. Bring Me a Book has an excellent curated list of Chinese and English children’s books. All of their recommendations have not only been preselected by educational specialists, parents, and librarians but are intended to spark your child’s interest and keep it. This award-winning non-profit organization also provide books to children who need them most and provide training to parents and educators on easy read-aloud strategies to implement at home, if you would like to support their mission get more information on how to get involved visit their website.
Reading is not only incredibly beneficial for your child but also for your family as a whole, this activity will enrich your child’s life and provide lasting and joyful memories that they will carry with them into adulthood.
Where to find children books in Hong Kong
Here are some recommendations on children’s book stores around Hong Kong.
Address: several locations in Hong Kong
Address: Shop 217-218 on the Second Floor, Caroline Centre, Lee Gardens Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay
Address: Rm 212 2/F Kowloon Bay Ind Ctr 15 Wang Hoi Road, Kowloon Bay
With membership only
Address: 7/F On Lan Centre, No. 11-15 On Lan Street, Central
Address: Unit 806, 8/F, Hewlett Centre, 54 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong
Address: 6 Chancery Lane, Central
Address: 2/F, Duke of Wellington House, 14-24 Wellington Street, Central
Address: Room 1, 20/F Haleson Building, 1 Jubilee Street, Central