How Does Reading Help Your Child’s Cognitive Development?

By Sailaja Joshi


As parents, we all know and understand the importance of encouraging our children to read. Reading is said to increase mental growth, which in turn helps our children do better in school. However, what exactly does reading do to the brain that allows these results to occur?

Whether you are a parent of younger or older children, it is beneficial to understand the positive effects reading has on your children’s cognitive development, so here is more information.

Why is Reading Important for Your Child?

It is important to every parent that their children’s minds develop effectively as they as they grow, which is something reading assists in doing.

Communication and Social Skills

Reading and sharing stories with your young children can help them understand sounds, language, words, and even develop literacy skills. Reading with your children can also help them develop strong communication and social skills.


Reading effectively sets young children up to be successful. How? The more you read to your child, the more knowledge they are able to obtain about the world around them, which is mentally enriching.


Encouraging your children to read instills in them the enjoyment of books. According to research, children who love reading are better in literary subjects, language subjects, and academically overall.  Reading to your children consistently will increase their levels of concentration which will benefit them in school later down the road.

What Kind of Books to Read for Your Child?

It is important to find books that will engage your child and keep them entertained. With that being said, younger children often enjoy books with adequate rhyming, rhythm, and repetition. This is because hearing things repeated often in a pattern, children are able to learn more effectively.

Alternating Topics

It is always wise to switch up the content that you read with your child. As they grow, their interests will change, and it is imperative that you change their literary content as often as those interests do.

Picture Books

These are great options for young children because they are not only colorful, but also have a simple, basic story line that young children will be able to grasp. Furthermore, even if your child is not able to read yet, the pictures will provide at least some form of context which they may, over time, connect with the words being said. (pssst: our illustrated books are a bright and beautiful way to get kids reading)

Predictable Books

These books help develop the ability for anticipation in young children. Because they include a repetitive story line and phrases, children will learn how to put that text together in order to make a narrative.

Folktales and Fairy Tales

Folktales and fairy tales also possess a variety of stories meant specifically for children. These are good options because they often include a moral ending which helps children learn how they should and shouldn’t behave.


Poetry is a great place to start with young children because it possesses rhyming sequences that can introduce children to the sound of a language. As children are learning phonics, poetry can be the perfect partner to go along with it. It also helps children adjust to learning how words and phrases sound when spoken out loud. 

Alphabet Books

Alphabet books are typically used to familiarize children with the letters of the alphabet. It is wise to implement these books before or while children are learning their alphabet because they allows them to apply what they are learning to what they are reading.

Informative Books

Informative books are especially great for children as they begin to grow a bit older. These books have a wide range of topics and therefore it is easy to select one that caters to your child’s interests. Informative books are not only engaging, but they also help children learn about their interests in a way that will captivate them. 

Other Options

Magazines, instruction manuals, and cereal boxes are some examples of what can also be interesting and engaging for your children to read. Once children develop and enjoyment of reading, many other things that they see every day can become captivating for them to explore.

Tips for Encouraging Your Child’s Cognitive Development

It is important to remember that encouraging your children to read will not only help them mentally, but will give them something that they will have for the rest of their lives - a love of knowledge and reading.


It is not only the reading itself that helps your child's cognitive development, but also the conversation that occurs alongside the reading. Having a conversation with your child about the topics discussed while reading will give them a broader understanding of their own young lives.

Bond with Your Children

Reading with your child presents the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with them. If possible, setting up scheduled times to read with your child will cultivate an event that they will be able to come to expect and look forward to doing with you.

Help Them Learn the Difference Between ‘Real life’ and ‘Imaginary’

Children are naturally imaginative, which is typically implemented while they play. However, reading with your child helps them discern between real life and their imagination, which is a skill they will need as they grow.

How Does Reading Help Your Child’s Cognitive Development?

Reading not only helps your child on a social and literary level, but also fosters their overall cognitive development. With reading comes the maturity of many attributes necessary for having in the real world, such as processing new information more quickly, learning valuable skills, and retaining knowledge about important topics.


Organizing a nightly cooperative reading session for you and your child will seed the later growth of a tremendous memory. By working routinely to keep track of words and phrases, your child will develop the basis for advanced heights in reasoning and memorization.

Information Processing

To keep up with you and the story you read to them, your child will much sooner develop the cerebral functions to quickly absorb and register information than other children their age. This skill will follow with them throughout their life, all the way to adulthood.

Visual Perceptual Skill

It is recommended that, as your child learns more words and phrases, you should encourage them to attempt reading some of the passage on their own. In doing so, you are promoting their visual perceptual skills - their ability to decipher meaning out of symbols or combinations of symbols (in this case, letters and words).


In keeping track of a storyline or the qualities of a specific character while reading, your child is learning to predict the outcome of an event before it happens. With specific elements in play, and the knowledge of the attributes of those elements, putting two and two together will be easy for a child who spent their early years reading with a parent.


Reading with and to your children gives them so much opportunity for growth in their young minds.

By spending time reading with your child, you are giving them many useful skills and advantages that they will be grateful for as they grow older. Having strong cognitive development at a young age will not only benefit your children, but give you the ability to see your children grow with mental capabilities they can be proud of.