It has always been that parents read to their children when they were very little not only to help them learn new words and increase their vocabulary. It is a form of bonding and an early attempt in injecting in them the love of reading. But as these kids grow older and are able to read independently, moms and dads tend to reduce the time spent telling them stories and leave them to peruse books on their own.

But did you know that it’s still important to read to your kids even if they are older?

Think about it: the primary way that children learn how to read is by listening first. They enrich their vocabulary and discover the meanings of new words by hearing how they are pronounced and used in sentences. Books provide avenues for this kind of academic learning. You can start with short stories for your first grader then eventually go for Shakespeare or science fiction when your kids reach sixth or seventh grade.

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Reading to older children not only develops their vocabulary. Coupled with a question-and-answer type of interaction, it also helps them understand complex ideas or story plots. This can be done by discussing the story line with your kids after reading a chapter or the entire narrative of a book. Engage them in conversations revolving around the story by asking questions like “What do you think will happen next?” or “If you were the character, would you do the same?” or “Do you think it could have ended differently?”

Also, regardless the age of your children, reading to them encourages their love for literature. Your kids will pick up your passion for reading because they see your desire in poring over books for hours.

More importantly, spending time reading to your kids, even if they’re older, strengthens the bond between the parent and child. When your children grow up, they will surely remember and treasure those moments when you cuddled in front of their favorite book and got lost in the story together. And when they have kids of their own, they would definitely want to experience the same kind of relationship like you had with them.

It doesn’t matter if it takes an hour or just 5 minutes of each day. Reading to your kids even if they’re older will reap great benefits for your children academically and emotionally.