Benefits of Reading to your children

New Zealand Author Josephine Carson-Barr shares with us the benefits of reading to your children and her top tips to make it fun!


Reading to your child is very important and one of the great pleasures of parenthood

 The importance of reading cannot be emphasised enough, as parents we need to make daily reading a high priority and enjoyment.

Studies show that babies, toddlers/ pre-schoolers who are read to every day have a larger vocabulary than those who aren’t read to at all. There are many advantages and benefits of reading.

 Reading to your child creates a special bond

There’s nothing better than cuddling up together and reading a book at bed time as part of the bedtime ritual. This can happen as soon as the baby is happy to do so. Spending time with one another, reading, and talking, forms special bonds. For parents who work, or have a busy lifestyle, relaxing with their child reading, can be a great way for you both to wind down, relax, and really enjoy just being together.

 Reading fosters concentration

While you may think it is useless reading to a toddler who wants to constantly turn pages, swap books, or throw them around, reading with your little one is extremely important. Teaching the love and joy of reading, making it a special fun activity. By reading to your child every day, your child will learn to concentrate and sit still for longer periods of time, which is useful when they start school.

 Reading to young children sets them up to succeed

 The more you read to your children, the more knowledge they absorb, knowledge is important in all aspects of life. Studies show that reading to babies and toddlers gives them a head start and gives them a love of books which will follow them into their adult life.

 Reading to your children develops Language and Pre-Reading Skills

It is important that older children learn to follow words across the page from left to right, and turn pages which are pre-reading skills. Children who enjoy reading not only do better in language and literacy subjects, but in all of the different subjects as well. Reading to your child means they are exposed to a variety of vocabulary on different topics, they hear words or phrases which they may not hear in their daily lives. Reading is an easy way to develop language skills. The more words they know, the better. Rhyming books are wonderful and will often become your child’s favourite book. 



Reading encourages learning, so read a range of age appropriate topics as they get older

 Reading to your children leads to questions about the book and the information within. It gives you a chance to speak about what is happening and use this as a learning experience. It may also develop an interest in different cultures or languages thus developing an ongoing love of learning. Providing your child with different types of books on different topicsgives them a wide range of information for them to learn. Nonfiction books on animals, places or objects etc.

Books also help to teach children important life skills such as sharing, being kind and diversity. When a child can put themselves into the story it helps them to develop empathy. They identify with characters, and they feel what they are feeling. Children begin to understand and relate to emotions. This can give the parent an opportunity to discuss behaviour often in a fun way.

 If you can’t afford to buy books PLEASE USE your local library.

 Encourages the use of imagination

One of the great benefits of reading with children is watching their growing imagination. When they really engage in a book they imagine what the characters are doing. Seeing the excitement in a child’s eyes when they know what is going to happen on the next page, or having them guess what is going to happen is amazing.

 Books as entertainment

 Choosing a book that interests your child and either reading it together, or letting them flick through pages alone, is a great way to keep them entertained. One of the main benefits that highlights the importance of reading with babies and toddlers, is that they are more likely to choose a book to read for pleasure over other activities when they are bored. Remember when are reading to them to make the book as interesting and exciting as possible, varying your tone, loud, quiet as a mouse, using suspense etc etc. Monotone is BORING.




Dear Parent,


Most children will choose a favourite book and want it read over and over and

over again, with the parents begging for a change!!!.

At age seventy I can still repeat some of my children’s favourites, word for word.

But to me as an author, a mother and a grandmother it is still my favourite activity of all, cuddling up with a child and reading them great books.

Hope you have enjoyed the above and start reading every day to your children.


Happy Reading,

Jo Carson-Barr


Josephine Carson-Barr has written in multiple genres over the last ten years but she is now focusing on Children’s Picture books. She is the author of four books: Talking to Nanny which is in the NZ School System, The GoodBye Chair, The Chill Out Chair, a series around the Nicholas Character. Her fourth book is Waata the Weta: Can He Find the Perfect Home?

Jo lives with her husband Rod in Auckland City, after having spent many years residing in rural New Zealand in both the North and South Islands. She has three children and six grandchildren who are often the inspiration for her books.


For more information or to purchase one of Jo's books head to or head over to her Facebook page