Since public education in many countries does not begin until age four or later, parents and caregivers are frequently encouraged to support children’s literacy by reading to them before they enter school. Reading aloud benefits children in many significant ways and is critical to their success in school. Here are just a few ways that regular story time sessions help children’s intellectual development.
The Benefits of Reading to Children
Reading out loud to children strengthens their ability to visualize images, grasp the plot of a story, and build vocabulary. Each of these basic skills provides the foundation for more advanced ones. For example, studies show that 24-month-old children with larger oral vocabularies display greater academic and behavioral functioning when they enter kindergarten than those with less developed vocabularies.
While some may see reading as only a single subject, every academic subject requires a degree of foundational literacy. This includes math problems, social studies texts, science experiments, and more. Students who have been read to and continue to read on their own have an easier time making connections to background knowledge, identifying patterns and shapes, drawing conclusions, and thinking critically.
Reading to children helps them do more than perform well in school, however. Because books are one of the media through which children first perceive their world and its workings, studies show that introducing them to books strengthens their social, emotional, and ethical development. Reading aloud in early childhood reduces aggression, hyperactivity, and attention difficulties, and likely other problematic behaviors as well.
Literacy Rates in Africa
Almost nowhere is child literacy in need of more support than in Africa, which has m
any countries with literacy rates among the lowest globally. Improving literacy in Africa can be a cyclical challenge: adults with poor literacy are unable to read aloud to their children or effectively teach them to read, which makes students less likely to perform well in school or thrive as adults.
This is particularly true in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to 27% of all illiterate adults in the world; female literacy rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are even lower than that of males. Parental involvement in literacy efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa is often hampered by poverty and food insecurity. Additionally, in Uganda, pandemic-related lockdowns have shuttered schools for long periods of time. The Ugandan literacy rate is only slightly over 70% for people over fifteen.
How to Help Ugandan Children Reap the Benefits of Reading
One powerful way to help improve literacy rates is to make donations to Ugandan charities and schools as well as those elsewhere in Africa. A high-quality education equips each student with the tools necessary for improving their reading skills and their quality of life as well as that of their communities.
Simone’s Kids in Nakaseke, Uganda provides education and meets basic needs for children in order to help them break the cycle of poverty. Your donations help purchase school supplies, textbooks, food, and other necessities for Ugandan students. Make a difference by shopping at the Simone’s Kids Store or donating to Simone’s Kids today!