One of Albert Einstein’s most famous quotes is: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Reading a book at any age is a great way to stimulate your brain, but it is the most beneficial for young children. Reading expands a child’s imagination by giving them the tools to cope with real-life situations, widening their knowledge of the world, and giving them valuable bonding time with their parents. Through continuous reading, a child can heighten their brain’s capacity and stimulate their intelligence.
Whether you are expecting a new child or currently have a young toddler, you may be thinking of ways to improve their chances of a happy and prosperous future. As the world is a vast and ever-changing place, the job market and workforce will be very different when your child grows up. But reading will give your child the fundamental tools that can help them flourish, no matter what the future holds. Many bedtime stories are available for young children that address both non-fiction and fictional topics, but regardless of the subject matter, the act of reading has power in itself. This article will outline some of the reasons why reading your child books and bedtime stories will stimulate their intelligence.
In recent years, the concept of intelligence has expanded to incorporate a wider range of meanings. There may be at least seven different types of intelligence. The categories are interpersonal and intrapersonal, visual and verbal, logical, musical, bodily, and naturalistic. By identifying different groups of knowledge, you can start to think about which books will help your child develop skills in each of those areas.
Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Intelligence
Interpersonal intelligence refers to the ability to interact with other people, while intrapersonal is the relationship one has with oneself. Books present many different types of characters, and through interactions with either each other or objects, a plot is formed. When your child indulges in these plots, they begin to understand why certain characters react the way they do, and the reason for specific actions. When a child sees a character go through a challenge that is similar to the challenges they face in their own life, it helps them to work through their problems. If you read to your child, you can work through these issues together.
Fairy tales are a great example of narratives that can help a child boost their interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. Usually, a situation presents itself to a character in which they must take action, or they will suffer a consequence. The character weighs all their options and will make a decision that makes the most sense to them. In some cases, this decision will not always be the right one, and the character will have to retrace their steps and find out where they went wrong. By exposing a child to a story of this nature, they begin to get an understanding of how relationships are vital to a successful path in life.
Verbal and Logical Intelligence
Depending on what kind of stories you read to your child, there may be some warrant use of sound effects or musical accompaniment. Many fables or nursery rhymes present great opportunities to add in your own sound effects. Books that incorporate animal characters or sound effects are also great for making sounds. Using sound effects while reading can help your child to develop their verbal, musical, and logical intelligence. Through reading out loud, a child can vocalize the words on the page and formulate useful tricks that help them make correlations in their day-to-day life.
For example, when a child sees a bird in a book, you can help them to identify the kind of sound a bird makes. As you walk with your child in nature, and they hear this sound, they will know they are listening to a bird. As you introduce your child to broader concepts, they will be able to make more substantial correlations. Some books will present patterns or rhyming poems which heighten a child’s musical intelligence. Understanding patterns, structures, and rhythm are crucial to many jobs, and by exposing them to this content early on, you are better preparing them for the future.
Literacy, Vocabulary & Comprehension
A child can gain cognitive skills like numeracy through bedtime stories. These are essential tools in a child’s development, and through routine practice, you increase your child’s potential to have a better relationship with these skills later on in life. Books, as opposed to everyday conversations, present vocabulary, and language that is more diverse and vibrant, which helps teach a child new ideas.
Reading out loud to kids is very common when they are younger, especially in regards to picture books. As they get older, you should encourage your child to read books without pictures on their own. Through independent reading, a child can intensify their imagination and deepen their visualization skills. These skills are beneficial for many jobs in a variety of industries.
You must read or let your child read bedtime stories from a handful of different genres. Through exposure to the various subject matter, a child can diversify their vocabulary. Additionally, multiple genres are useful for sparking inquisitiveness in your child. This curiosity is one of the most significant benefits of fables and, with regular reading, a child will become more attuned to the world around them as they will ask more questions.
A child that is asking many questions is a child that is constantly learning. As they read and hear more stories, they will absorb more information. As they become more familiar with different concepts and complex scenarios, you can increase the difficulty of the books they read. Providing your child with literature and stories gives them an opportunity for exploration and adventure within the home.
Benefits of Listening to Audio
Interestingly enough listening to stories shares the same benefits and, in some cases even more:
- Increases reading accuracy by 52%
- Increases reading speed, expands vocabulary and improves fluency
- Teaches pronunciation
- Improves comprehension by 76%
- Increases test scores by 21% when engaged in multi-modal learning.
- 27% of the Kindergarten to Year 12 population are what are described as auditory learners
- Students can listen and comprehend two grade levels above their reading level when regularly listening to audiobooks
- Combining print and audio increases recall by 40% over print alone
The Audio Publishers Association (APA) puts it this way: "Audiobooks build and enhance vital literacy skills such as fluency, vocabulary, language acquisition, pronunciation, phonemic awareness, and comprehension—skills that often boost reading scores.”
A great way to expose children to new audio experiences is through Storypod. Storypod is part of a new age of listening devices geared towards children. Through the use of figurines known as Crafties, magical worlds, fun songs, educational content, and interactive trivia can be accessed. If you're familiar with the popular game, Skylanders, the Storypod works by employing same technology. Think: Teddy Ruxpin but for the next generation. Storypod even has read-along books which allow children the opportunity to follow along with the written word.
Regardless of the method you choose to expose your children to reading and literacy activities, it is clear of the benefits it has, not only academically, but also emotionally, and socially. By diversifying your child's reading material, you provide opportunities for them to learn and develop their intelligence in different ways. These lessons will allow them to be successful in and out of the classroom.