Raising a child who loves to read is a life long investment that pays its self in countless dividends and it truly is one of the best qualities you can instill in your child.
The evidence of the importance of reading to and with your child are inarguable and there are a plethora of articles, books and many parenting websites that all list and explain the many valid reasons, methods and styles of this important task.
Reading to and with your child builds their mind, strengthens the parent-child bond and it increases their chances of leading successful adult lives.
Reading and being read to has proved to stimulate the brain’s functions and influences intelligence and emotional intelligence.
Reading makes a person think and when we think the synapse in our brains work, thus strengthening the synapse and making us “smarter. For example children age 12-18 months begin to experience what is called “concept books” and it is through being read to that they learn concepts of up/down, big/little etc.
They also at this age learn what sounds certain object make as in a cat says “meow” and a car goes “vroom” This learning that occurs during reading time then carries over and the associations made through reading extend to the outside world.
Reading provides a safe platform where children are exposed to language, sounds, ideas and most of all stories. It is through stories that children are taught morals, norms, acceptable behaviour and structure of our societies. Stories teach about life and it is through reading that young minds are fed.
Reading can also increase our emotional intelligence as it is through certain stories that children learn about emotions and the gamut of emotions they will experience in life. Some very key emotions can be taught through reading such as resiliency, optimism, and empathy.
With each phase of a child’s growth what and how you read to your child will evolve. As the reading level of the child develops so will the world around them and within them. In my opinion, reading is vital to a person not so much for the intellect it can help build but for the imagination that it fosters – for reading is the most powerful imagination builder. As Albert Einstein said:
Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.
It is Never Too Early to Begin to Your Child
Research has shown that the early stage of reading to your baby is primarily about bonding. The nurturing of the parent-child bond is very well served through the act of reading. As a baby, it learns the parent’s voice and as the child grows so does the bond.
Reading time is perhaps one of the best ways of spending quality time together. This special time provides an opportunity to be simply with each other and to share in the experience of a story, which is very valuable. Important dialogue, questions and insights can arise during reading time. The time spent engaging in these instances are important and can be very influential to a child’s development and the parent-child relationship.
As the parent, when you spend time reading with your child, there is a subconscious message that is of validation. The child feels wanted, it feels as if they belong to the family unit; his or hers self esteem grows because they feel that they are important enough for their parent to take the time to be with them. This is very powerful and of incredible significance because a child that feels loved, respected and nurtured is a happy child.
Visiting the library regularly and building the family’s own home library can also be extremely engaging and can provide special and very positive memorable experiences. “Bonding through books” can stretch out to include excursions to book fairs, author visits, book signings, library visits and even travels.
It is an known fact that early literacy proves to be one of the best indicators of future success. Therefore literacy should be a parental responsibility as a part of the upbringing of a child to ensure probability of a successful and normal adult life.
A number of states in the USA are using the literacy scores of students in grade 3 to determine the number of jail cells they will need in 10 years time.
Stop for a moment and think about that frightening fact!
The number of grade 3 students who do not meet grade 3 literacy standards are expected in 10 years to end up living in prison.
The magazine Forbes published an article called $5 Children’s book vs. $47,000 Jail Cell-Choose One. This article revealed that 60% of US prison inmates are illiterate, 85% of US juvenile offenders have reading problems and 67% of US 4th graders can not read at the 4th grade proficiency level.
To combat these frightening statistics, it is of paramount importance that we all join in the efforts and support early literacy. The benefits of regularly reading to a child are indisputable and we must share in this responsibility for the sake our future generations.
Boston Medical University began several years ago a program called Reach out and Read and it is based on doctors prescribing parents to read aloud to their children as part of the recovery and the child’s overall health.
Reading to and with your child is an obvious way to boost your child’s intelligence level and also foster a great bond between the two of you. It’s a way to encourage a child to dream and expand their imagination and it is also a powerful tool with which you arm them as they enter a competitive world.
Please, read regularly to your child and know that you are doing something amazing for them.
In the words of Kofi Annan:
Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty and a building block of development”¦ Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.