ABC News by Sarah Scopelianos

Literacy expert Misty Adoniou advises parents to read to their children, not only to build their relationships but also for greater learning outcomes.

Dr Adoniou, an adjunct associate professor in literacy and language at the University of Canberra and a principal fellow at the University of Melbourne, says reading isn’t just about sounding out words. She describes it as “gaining meaning”.

This means that interruptions to answer a child’s questions or to repeat sections of a story while reading aloud can increase their knowledge.

She acknowledges that some of the benefits of reading aloud carry over into audiobooks, like exposing young readers to harder books they can’t read yet.

“If we leave it, we’ll just have kids reading what they’re able to read by themselves [and] then they’re stuck on low-level, low-interest books in the beginning,” Dr Adoniou says.

More complex stories increase a child’s vocabulary, a huge benefit.

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