Did you know that 93% of adults in the United States read at or below the basic level needed to successfully navigate in our society! Yikes! For those of them who have children, they are responsible for their earliest language. Sadly, by the age of 3, a 30 million word gap has already been created. Reading to children, all children, regardless of socioeconomic status, is crucial. Reading aloud stimulates children’s imaginations, it expands their understanding of the world not to mention it develops their language and listening skills.
There is no such thing as reading too early to your child. The sooner the better and what better way to bond then sharing the pictures and the words of a book. At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language.
Taking care of a family is a very busy job in and of itself, however, finding ten minutes in your day to sit and share a book with your child is a must. 34 percent of children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn how to read. Finding time within a hectic day shows your child that reading is important.
Having access to books of different genres (don’t forget nonfiction) will help expand your child’s interests and their imagination! If your child is anything like mine were, they have a favorite book that they want to hear or read over and over and over again. Ugh, it can drive a parent crazy! Be patient though, make a deal to read their book first and then read another selection. Eventually, they will move on as their interests change.
Even after children learn to read by themselves, it’s still important for you to read aloud together. A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can and should be reading seventh grade books to fifth grade kids. They’ll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading. A fifth grader can enjoy a more complicated plot than she can read herself, and reading aloud is really going to hook her, because when you get to chapter books, you’re getting into the real meat of print — there is really complicated, serious stuff going on that kids are ready to hear and understand, even if they can’t read at that level yet.
Introducing your children to a love of learning and reading will produce a literate adult who will read for learning, knowledge, and pleasure. What better gift can a parent give to their child?