There is a tremendous amount of education that a young child can obtain prior to beginning school, and much of this information is provided through the simple and engaging process of families reading with their children.
According to one educational study at Ohio State University, young children whose parents and/or guardians read five books a day with them hear about 1.4 million more words than those whose families did not read to them before entering kindergarten; however, just reading ONLY ONE book each day allows young children to hear approximately 290,000 more words by age five than those who don’t regularly read books with their parents, guardians or caregivers.
Reading also helps children grow in their independence and imaginations. They are able to escape into new worlds on their own through their imagination and also be introduced to characters and personalities that seem real and start to become more familiar each time they sit down and open a book.
Below are a variety of ways that families can help ensure they raise readers who continue to develop the passion to learn and grow in their literacy abilities.
It is highly recommended that parents/guardians begin reading to their children when they are infants. Not only is it an activity that sometimes helps calm them down and soothe them into sleeping, but it also helps build a stronger neurological foundation for literacy. The reasoning behind this is as they are exposed to words and ideas that are not yet part of their vocabulary and thoughts, and books also expose children to vocabulary and grammar that they wouldn’t normally hear.
Talk Positively about Reading
The more parents/guardians make reading sound appealing, the more likely their children may enjoy it and desire to make it a part of their routines and habits. Encouraging children to read in their spare time rather than play on computers or other devices will allow them to improve their cognitive abilities and deepen their imaginations.
Allow Children to Read in Everyday Life
Families can help their children develop essential reading skills by having them practice reading in everyday situations. For instance, when going to the grocery store, prepare a list of items needed and have your child read what items are listed. You can also have them practice improving their literacy by reading words and sentences listed on signs, cereal boxes, menus at restaurants and other items with text that is seen on a regular basis.
Prioritize Visiting the Library
It’s important for families to make time to take their children to the library on a consistent basis in order to allow them to be immersed in a world of literature and have seemingly infinite reading options for them to choose from. Libraries also often offer various reading programs and engaging activities that allow children to connect with others while improving their own reading skills at the same time.
Set an Example
Children often model what they see. The more they see their family members reading, the more likely they are to read themselves. Reading together with your child when he or she is young sets the initial precedent but reading on your own will show your child the importance and benefits of independent reading in one’s spare time.
Reading each day with a child does not require much time or effort, and the benefits are lifelong.