Reading is Important to Your Grandchild's Development

By Emily Koeppel, B.A. and Lindsay Hornell, BSW, B.A.,
Graduate Research Assistants in Human Development & Family Studies,
Colorado State University

Reading is Important to Your Grandchild's Development

This time of the year people are making New Years resolutions to improve themselves and their lives. A great goal would be to encourage daily reading for your older grandchild or making time to read with or to your younger grandchild. This is also a perfect time, if you have not already, to introduce reading as a daily activity for your grandchild. Whether your grandchild is a toddler or an adolescent, it is important to make reading a regular activity. For young children and adolescents, reading has several benefits that vary specifically by age. However, reading at any age improves academic performance and strengthens basic speech skills.

A common misconception is that infants and toddlers do not need to be read to because they are not able to understand what is being read. However, this is not true. If your grandchild is an infant or a toddler, reading to them is one of the most beneficial activities that you can do with him or her. Starting to read to children before preschool has been shown to help them prepare for elementary school. Although it may not seem like young children are listening, they are. With more exposure to reading, children began to understand more words and sentences. This can help them prepare for basic school subjects such as math, science and social studies.

Reading to young children has also been shown to create and strengthen the bond between the child and his/her caregiver. Taking the time to read to your infant or toddler each day guarantees that you will spend quality time together. In addition, daily reading sets aside time to help your grandchild learn basic speech and reading skills that will contribute to healthy development.

It is also important to encourage your adolescent grandchild to read on a regular basis. Reading exposes adolescents to different types of writing, which can expand adolescent vocabularies and improve writing skills. These skills that are strengthened by reading can be crucial for succeeding on standardized tests and receiving admission into college. Not only does reading help in academic areas, but reading different stories can help expand adolescent horizons as they learn about different people, cultures and stories in the world.

If you would like tips on how to encourage children to read, please visit the Center for Children's Literature website. The website also provides a great resource for finding books to read with your grandchildren or to recommend to your older grandchild. This website provides the top children books of 2012 categorized by age.

Public libraries are also a great resource to encourage reading. Most libraries hold a story time for infants, toddlers and caregivers each week. To find a library near you, visit this public library website and select your state.