We all know that reading offers so much more than just learning. It is a gateway to other worlds, to stories, characters and ideas that just can’t be presented on the screen. By exercising your imagination or engaging your mind, reading entertains and makes you smarter all at the same time. In fact, reading can actually improve your memory, and here are some ways in which that happens.
When you read to your child, studies show that using category cues can help kids remember associated words. For example, attaching footballs, shin guards, baseball bats and the like as “sports” will help the child to include other terms under that category and they will be twice as likely to remember the words in the future.
This is called “associative learning,” and it can not only improve comprehension but can also expand vocabulary and help to teach grammar rules in such subjects as syntax and punctuation.
Formalize Your Reading
If you set your home and reading sessions up like a school classroom, you can apply proven strategies to help your little one guide and direct their learning. When reading a book — especially one that highlights routines like getting ready for bed — stop and ask your child to predict what will happen next, and to speculate what might happen if the next step is not taken.
This allows your child to apply their existing knowledge to new concepts and helps them to learn new ideas like summarizing and paraphrasing ideas. When they can do this, their associative learning improves as well.
Apply Other Engagements
Reading is an amazing means of improving memory, comprehension and learning ability but it is not the end. Engage your child’s other senses as you read. Incorporate writing, visual, and hands-on activities as well. Every child learns differently and it is important to find the right combination of activities for your youngster. By adding things like audiobooks, picture books, comics or videos to your reading activities, you will most fully engage their senses and mind.
Plan Your Activites
Create a basic strategy to improve comprehension and improve memory. Before your reading session, take some time to review your materials. Come up with ways you can apply those other engagements and formalize the process. Work out strategies like underlining, note-taking and sensory input. Formalizing your reading, as mentioned above, requires time, patience and planning.
When you make the effort to carefully prepare your reading activities, you will be best able to keep your child engaged and interested and you will be better prepared to improve their memory and comprehension. Finally, your child will know if you are working on improvisation and you may have a trickier time holding their attention. If you prepare, they will also learn to prepare and be attentive.
If you are looking for a way to get started, why not try our A to Z Fruits and Vegetables book? This will give you a head start on categorizing, comprehension and visual engagement. From there you will be able to build on these strategies and set your child on a great path to improved memory and reading fun!