We’ve talked about the benefits of reading aloud to your child, but there comes a time in which you’ll want to encourage your child to engage in some independent reading. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to get new readers engaged in books on their own. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to this; stuffed animals! What are some of the benefits of children reading with stuffed animals?
Stuffed Animals Bring Characters to Life
When the stuffed animal in question is a character from the book they’re reading, it helps children engage more with the book. This is because the characters come to life in the child’s mind, providing a tactile and imaginative connection to the reading material. This feeling of engagement can promote enjoyment of reading, leaving the child excited to pick up a book. Getting kids engaged in reading early is a great way to develop a lifelong love of reading.
Develops Active Reading Skills
Reading aloud is different than being read to, or even reading quietly to yourself. Encouraging a child to read on their own starts the process of developing active reading skills. At this age, that means just reading with a determination to really engage with and understand the material. Reading aloud helps kids improve their reading as well. When reading aloud, new readers are less likely to skip over words that they don’t know or understand, instead prompting them to sound the word out and examine the context that the word appears in.
So encouraging your children to read aloud to a stuffed animal friend is a great way to help them develop strong reading skills!
Encourage Children to Read on Their Own
Kids reading on their own, rather than being read to, is a vital part of developing reading skills and a lifelong reading habit. But sometimes, kids lack the motivation to read on their own. Reading with a parent or being read to by a parent is inherently rewarding, because the child gets to spend time with someone they love. Reading is also rewarding on its own, but kids have to learn that before it can motivate them. Having the opportunity to read to a stuffed animal friend can get them to start reading on their own.
The reason this is more motivating than reading on their own is that they are mixing imaginative play with reading, and it gives them the chance to take on a parent or teacher style role with their stuffed animal friend.
There are a lot of benefits to being a lifelong reader. It improves academic performance throughout their school career, but aside from that, kids that love to read learn all kinds of new things that they may not be taught in school. Lifelong readers tend to find learning itself intrinsically rewarding, helping them engage better with educational tasks and materials. There’s even evidence that a reading habit helps kids develop emotional intelligence and strong empathy. A daily reading habit carried on into adulthood can reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life.
Builds the Groundwork for Great Writing Skills
Good writing skills will benefit kids as they advance through school, but they’re also skills we all use throughout our lives. As adults, we create resumes, and write cover letters. These require persuasive writing skills. We’ll need to write emails and memos, which require the ability to be concise and clear in your writing. So even if you’re not going to be an award winning novelist, great writing skills provide great benefits.
One of the ways that kids learn to write is by reading. It helps them develop an intuitive understanding of sentence structure and different types of narratives. It helps them develop an understanding of grammar and word use. So even if your child isn’t writing yet, or if their writing is very basic, encouraging them to read on their own sets the stage for great writing skills later on.
Builds Confidence in New Readers
Learning to read is hard! While kids need correction sometimes if they read something incorrectly, always having someone there to correct them can inhibit their confidence with reading. It’s okay to make mistakes; that’s how we learn, after all.
Letting a child read aloud to a stuffed animal friend allows them to practice reading without worrying about making mistakes. Their stuffed animal friend will not correct them, or laugh at them, or interrupt them. They’re just great listeners!
Having a mix of structured and unstructured reading time allows kids to have both the opportunity to correct mistakes they’ve been making, and also time to explore the reading process more organically and intuitively. It’s a lot like the difference between school and play. Kids learn from both, and need both to develop!
And all of this is in addition to the fact that reading with or to your stuffed animal friend is just fun!
Now that you know the benefits of encouraging your child to read with a stuffed animal, check out our collection of coordinating kids’ books and stuffed animals! It’s a wonderful way to encourage your child to read, to help them develop confidence, and to give them a way to build lifelong literacy skills. Pick out a book and a friend for your child, and set them up for a lifelong reading habit!