As a much younger teacher, I remember emphasizing to parents, the importance of reading aloud to their children. It was really only after having my own children and practicing what I had preached, that I began to understand that I too was benefiting!
I recently read an interesting article, published by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, in which they set out the basic “hidden” benefits…
While reading is a necessity for learning, it is also one of the best ways to develop bonds with your children; researchers say reading to your child is “a gift for time-challenged parents who may feel guilty about missing special moments with their kids.” (www.scholastic.com) The book publisher suggests parents schedule reading sessions often and use the moments to enrich their relationships with their children, as well as build their vocabularies. Parents will forever cling to such innocent moments. Children, meanwhile, are learning about complex aspects of life and relationships when they are engaged in stories with themes that can be more mature than anything they’ve encountered in life. Going through those educational moments with a parent allows them to confront these issues in a safe space.
Secret to Success
The article goes on to explain that research showed that children four to five years of age who are read to three to five times a week are six months ahead of their peers in terms of reading acumen. Those children who are read to daily are a year ahead of those who are read to less frequently. ”It does appear to be the case that children who are read to more often keep doing better as they age than other children.”
Rich Vocabulary Equals Advantage
Educator Jim Trelease notes that there is a clear difference between conversing with a child and reading to him or her. As he points out in his book “Read-Aloud Handbook,” literature is more intricate than speech and therefore vastly more educational.
“The language in books is very rich, and in books there are complete sentences. In books, newspapers, and magazines, the language is more complicated, more sophisticated. A child who hears more sophisticated words has a giant advantage over a child who hasn’t heard those words,” Trelease says.
Teaching by Example
“A child who has been read to will want to learn to read herself. She will want to do what she sees her parents doing. But if a child never sees anyone pick up a book, she isn’t going to have that desire,” Trelease points out in a conversation with GreatSchools.org. Reading increases a child’s attention span and a parent’s own cognitive ability, the best-selling author says. It is one of the most essential and valuable activities children can inherit from parents simply by observing them being engrossed in a book or magazine. Knowing how many habits children pick up from grown-ups around them, reading is one activity parents should aim to get caught doing in front of their children!
So, enjoy cuddling with your child and reading that bed time story.
Year 2 Teacher