The importance of reading

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

As a principal of a leading educational institution, I have seen first-hand the significant impact that reading can have on a child's development. Reading not only fosters a love for learning, but it also helps build important cognitive and social skills that are essential for success in life.

In today's digital age, it can be easy for parents to rely on technology to entertain their children. It has become a pseudo child minding service. While technology has its place, there is simply no replacement for the human connection that comes from reading with a child. That's why I firmly believe that "There is no app to replace the lap."

When a parent reads to or with their child, they are providing much more than just entertainment. They are fostering a strong bond between themselves and their child, which can lead to a lifetime of positive relationships. Additionally, reading helps to develop important language and communication skills, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

It's never too early to start reading to your child. Even infants can benefit from being read to, as it helps them develop language skills and a love for books from a young age. As your child grows, continue to read together and encourage them to read independently as well. This will help them build important literacy skills that will benefit them throughout their academic career and beyond.

Reading with your child can also be a wonderful way to wind down at the end of the day. Instead of turning to screens or other distractions, take the time to snuggle up with a good book and enjoy some quality time together. This can be especially important for children who may be struggling with anxiety or stress, as reading can provide a calming and relaxing activity that helps them feel more secure.

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a national program that measures the development of children in their first year of school across five key areas, including language and cognitive skills. According to the 2018 AEDC national report, children who were read to every day or almost every day by a parent or caregiver were more likely to have above-average language and cognitive skills compared to those who were not read to as often. [1]

In addition, the Australian Institute of Family Studies has highlighted the importance of reading to children for their overall development. A study by the Institute found that reading with children from a young age can help develop their language, literacy, and cognitive skills, as well as their social-emotional development. [2]

Furthermore, the Australian Government's Department of Education, Skills and Employment has emphasised the importance of reading to and with children as part of their Learning Potential Resources for parents. The resources recommend reading to children every day as a way to help them develop literacy skills and develop their imagination and creativity. [3]

Unsurprisingly, the research supports the importance of reading to and with children from a young age to promote their development and set them up for success in life. As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. Reading with your child is one simple yet powerful way to help them achieve those goals. So put down the screens and pick up a book – there truly is no app to replace the lap.

Nick Johnstone


1. Australian Early Development Census. (2018). National Report 2018. Retrieved from

2. Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2017). Supporting children’s early literacy development: A review of evidence. Retrieved from

3. Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. (n.d.). Learning Potential Resources. Retrieved from